Ernie Harwell, who has broadcast Detroit Tigers baseball for 31 seasons, said today he has been fired.
Harwell said Tigers President Bo Schembechler and other team executives told him at a meeting in October his contract would be allowed to expire after the 1991 season.
“The radio station, WJR, and the Tiger baseball club have decided that 1991 will be the last year that I will broadcast play-by-play for the Detroit Tigers,” Harwell said at a news conference.
Harwell, 72, said he is healthy and wants to broadcast baseball after 1991.
Paul Carey, Harwell’s broadcasting partner since 1973, said he also will leave the Tigers broadcasts after 1991. Carey, who attended the news conference, said he decided three weeks ago to make 1991 his last season and only learned of Harwell’s fate today.
Harwell said he suggested being re-evaluated after 1991 with his return possible, but, “Bo was very forthright, which I appreciated, and he said, ‘We have decided that we really don’t want you to come back.’
“It was a surprise, but there’s no bitterness on my part.”
There was no one immediately available at Tigers’ offices this morning for comment.
Harwell said the announcement is unrelated to his stance on the controversy over Tiger Stadium. He attended a Tiger Stadium Fan Club fund-raiser Monday and had been critical of reports that the team hoped to be in a new stadium by 1995.
Harwell, who started his broadcasting career in 1940 and did his first major-league game in 1948, broadcast for the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants and Baltimore Orioles before joining the Tigers.