July 1, 2014 at 2:00 pm

ESPN digs into Ernie Harwell archives for July 4 Tigers-Rays promo

ESPN uses voice of Harwell
ESPN uses voice of Harwell: The network airs the long-time Tigers broadcaster's Hall of Fame induction speech for an upcoming promo.

Detroit -- With ESPN airing a doubleheader of baseball games on July 4, the words were a natural fit.

For its promo spot for Friday’s Rays-Tigers and Yankees-Twins games, ESPN dug into the Ernie Harwell archives for the perfect essay about baseball being America’s sport.

Among the passages from Harwell used in the 30-second advertisement:

* “Baseball is a spirited race of man against man, reflex against reflex.”

* “Baseball is a rookie, his experience no bigger than the lump in his throat.”

* “Just a game, yet as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes.”

* “This is a game for America. That’s baseball!”

Harwell, the Tigers longtime broadcaster, gave the speech during his Hall of Fame induction Aug. 2, 1981.

Here’s Harwell’s entire induction speech.

The July 4 spots will air all week, and ESPN will use a similar promo for the Sunday night Rays-Tigers game.



Ernie Harwell speaks to Tigers fans at Comerica Park in September 2009. / Robin Buckson / Detroit News