Ex-Detroit sportscaster Ackerman dead at 90

The Detroit News
Al Ackerman died at age 90 Monday.

Sportscaster Al Ackerman, a fixture on Detroit television in the 1970s and 1980s, died Monday at the age of 90, according to a report from WXYZ-TV Channel 7.

During his time at Channel 4 he hosted the Tigers pregame show, and coined the phrase “Bless You Boys.” The phrase later became a rallying cry for the team on its way to the 1984 World Championship.

Ackerman was also a controversial figure for inserting personal opinion into his sportscasts, which sometimes landed him in hot water with management.

Private funeral services were held for Ackerman, who requested before his death, "Take your family to a ball game."

Here's the obituary released by his family:

"Devotedly by his side was Terese Ann, his wife of 40 years.  He is also survived by daughter Suzanne McGlone Drake (husband Stuart and grandson Evan) of Great Falls, Virginia; daughter Trudy McGlone (granddaughters Lauren and Leah Draland) of Chicago; and sister-in-law Mary Handleman (husband Philip) of Birmingham and Oxford, Michigan.  He was preceded in death by son Michael.

"Al was a fixture in Detroit sports journalism and television broadcasting for many years.  As the longtime sports anchor at the area’s leading television stations, he was noted for his lively and fair reporting, characterized by a twinkle in his eye, a lilt in his voice, and usually a nod to the underdog. His thought-provoking commentaries captured the real news behind each story.

"In connection with the Detroit Tigers, Al coined the memorable rally cry 'Bless You Boys' that stuck with the team through its 1980s losing streak to eventual World Series triumph. He was not afraid to stand up for what he felt was right and always called it like he saw it.  One of his greatest honors was his induction into the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame."