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Monday, September 24, 2018

Long-time White Sox broadcaster ‘Hawk’ Harrelson bids emotional farewell in home finale vs. Cubs

For the last 35 years, the man known as “Hawk” Harrelson has been calling White Sox games (he dialed back his workload these last few years), but he has now retired after calling the White Sox’s final series versus the Cubs in 2018. Harrelson is very well known in the baseball world for some of his catch phrases:

-Yelling “stretch!” on a possible home run ball.
-“He gone!” for a White Sox pitcher recording a strikeout.
-“You can put it on the boooooooaaaaaaarrrrrrrrd ... YES! HELL YES!”
-“And this ballgame is ... ovah.”

He’s also pretty well known for being overly homerific (totally made that word up, but let’s go with it) in the booth for his beloved White Sox and hating advanced metrics. He was never shy to go after umpires or opposing players on the air. In all, his entire personality was polarizing and he was wildly popular among White Sox fans.

 

QLE Posted: September 24, 2018 at 05:02 AM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcing, hawk harrelson, retirement

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   1. Koot Posted: September 24, 2018 at 08:23 AM (#5750394)
I'm a Red Sox fan, I always thought he was entertaining when I watched the White Sox broadcasts.

Once Hawk's gone, does this leave John Sterling in a class of his own as the worst broadcaster in MLB?
   2. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 24, 2018 at 08:39 AM (#5750402)
The final out was on AtBat and it was sweet. The emotion was obvious and both the White Sox and Cubs came out of their dugouts to tip their caps to him.

Also a Red Sox fan and my earliest baseball memories are of Hawk doing color with Dick Stockton on play by play for channel 38. I don't remember him being a super-homer or anything but what do you know when you are 7-8 years old? I remember liking him though.
   3. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 24, 2018 at 09:06 AM (#5750415)
Ater the game, Eric Byrnes was offering platitudes for Hawk on MLB Network and saying how Hawk was Byrnes's role model for how to broadcast the game. That explains a lot about why I need to hit the mute button every time Byrnes starts screaming at me through the TV.

Between that and Carlos Pena saying each league needs two more wild card teams to rectify the inherent unfairness that the Rays won't make the playoffs this year, MLB Network was in full-on Stoopid mode yesterday. When I've got to resort to switching to the NFL because their Roughing Tackling the Passer rule makes more sense, that's saying something.
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: September 24, 2018 at 09:11 AM (#5750420)
I thought Hawk and Paciorek were a pretty good team in the 1990s. And he unquestionably was the last of the great nicknamers.

That seems like enough commentary for today.

   5. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: September 24, 2018 at 09:17 AM (#5750421)
Are you saying the commentary is OV-AH!
   6. Greg Pope Posted: September 24, 2018 at 09:34 AM (#5750431)
That seems like enough commentary for today.

Hawk lasted a long time in baseball and really loved what he did and loved his team. Out of respect for that, I won't comment further in this thread.

Probably.
   7. Batman Posted: September 24, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5750488)
I liked Harrelson and Don Drysdale announcing for the Sox in the early 1980's. It's possible that was only because I was about eight and Drysdale also introduced the cartoons on Channel 32. When he came back after GM-ing the Sox and then announcing for the Yankees, I was a teenager and thought he was entertaining occasionally but that Paciorek was good. Everybody else is being nice here, so I won't talk about the last 20 or so years.
   8. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 24, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5750502)
I used to hate Hawk, and came to appreciate him.

His love for the game. His homerism. His nicknames. His silent stewing when a call goes against his team. His loud complaining when a call went against his team.

When broadcasting 162 games, you need to be a homer.
   9. McCoy Posted: September 24, 2018 at 10:55 AM (#5750511)
I wonder how much love Steve Stone is going to get when he retires. He's been doing it for 30 odd years and at this point if you're a baseball in the Chicagoland area you've heard him call games hundreds of times at the very least.
   10. McCoy Posted: September 24, 2018 at 10:57 AM (#5750515)
Personally I was hoping for a bit of Brockmire to happen.
   11. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: September 24, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5750562)
I remember when he did the Red Sox games, he was mostly non-shtick.
   12. Rally Posted: September 24, 2018 at 12:21 PM (#5750595)
When broadcasting 162 games, you need to be a homer.


Absolutely. If you're working for MLB/ESPN/TBS/Fox you need to be objective. If you are working for a team's broadcasting channel, be a homer. 95% of the people listening to you are rooting for that team.
   13. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 24, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5750610)
Dude was annoying, but I'm not going to lie; I'll miss him in a way. His rants about Joe West alone are enough to make me not able to ever really hate the guy.
   14. Lassus Posted: September 24, 2018 at 01:39 PM (#5750668)
Thank god.
   15. Lassus Posted: September 24, 2018 at 01:41 PM (#5750670)
When broadcasting 162 games, you need to be a homer.
Absolutely. If you're working for MLB/ESPN/TBS/Fox you need to be objective. If you are working for a team's broadcasting channel, be a homer.


Nah. The SNY guys are fans, but not homers.
   16. This is going to be state of the art wall Posted: September 24, 2018 at 01:52 PM (#5750688)
I thought Hawk and Paciorek were a pretty good team in the 1990s. And he unquestionably was the last of the great nicknamers.


They had a good run. Hawk was at his peak back then and Wimpy reigned in a lot of his worst instincts (which were then amplified by Steve Stone later on in his career). The 90s were when he coined all his classic nicknames: Frank "Big Hurt" Thomas, Jack "Black Jack" McDowell, Lance, "One Dog' Johnson and so on.

Hawk also had a really great baseball eye back then, and didn't need any of his "stretch" or "get on back there" BS on his HR calls. He only added those to his calls as his eyesight failed him and he couldn't judge it off the bat that well.

All that said, the last 10 years have an an absolute slog with him in the booth. He should have retired after 2008. His comments on Lebron were embarrassing, out of touch at best, and his inability to call a complete game (seriously, dude has a leaky bladder or something) has been a constant for the last few years. On numerous occasions Hawk just left the booth for an inning or two, and in more than one case just quit the game early, leaving Stone to finish up. Unprofessional to say the least.
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 24, 2018 at 02:15 PM (#5750710)
When broadcasting 162 games, you need to be a homer.

Based on my limited sample via MLB Extra Innings, mostly on Yankees games, there seemed to be a whiny quality to Harrelson's homerism that made him a tough listen. I'm glad I didn't have to experience it more often, but I found some of his calls when everything headed south for the Sox to be amusing. Still, 35 years on the air is quite an achievement - just don't give him an award and claim he's in the non-existent broadcasters wing of the Hall of Fame. (I'm afraid to check, please don't tell me he's already in.)
   18. dlf Posted: September 24, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5750727)
(I'm afraid to check, please don't tell me he's already in.)


Here is the list. And no, Hawk isn't in.
   19. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: September 24, 2018 at 02:38 PM (#5750734)
Once Hawk's gone, does this leave John Sterling in a class of his own as the worst broadcaster in MLB?


Among all baseball announcers, and I can't attest to the Yankees or Red Sox, because we don't see them with any degree of regularity unless it's inter-league play, but far and away the most obnoxious broadcaster in baseball, in this league, is this guy right here.
   20. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: September 24, 2018 at 03:31 PM (#5750795)
12

Absolutely. If you're working for MLB/ESPN/TBS/Fox you need to be objective knob-polish the Yankees/Red Sox/Astros/Dodgers/Cardinals.


FIFY
   21. Tin Angel Posted: September 24, 2018 at 03:42 PM (#5750806)
Among all baseball announcers, and I can't attest to the Yankees or Red Sox, because we don't see them with any degree of regularity unless it's inter-league play, but far and away the most obnoxious broadcaster in baseball, in this league, is this guy right here.


Besides the Yankees announcers, and Brennaman, I find the Indians Tom Hamilton to be pretty annoying. He'll call a home run in May on a Wednesday afternoon like it's Game 7 of the World Series.
   22. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 24, 2018 at 04:11 PM (#5750835)
I find the Indians Tom Hamilton to be pretty annoying.

Me too and for the same reason.
   23. Moeball Posted: September 24, 2018 at 05:26 PM (#5750887)
Vin Scully.

NOT a homer on Dodgers games.

Best. Announcer. Ever.

And I'm a Padres fan who doesn't like dem Bums, but it was always obvious Vin was in a league of his own.

An announcer should be a baseball fan, not just a fan of the home team.

Hey,you kids, get off my lawn!
   24. Walt Davis Posted: September 24, 2018 at 05:37 PM (#5750895)
Caught a bit yesterday, around the 7th. I didn't hear the question but the camera cut to the booth, Stone asked him something reflective and ... Hawk looked like he was about to burst into tears and couldn't answer. Wisely the camera cut away, Stone took over PBP and I switched over to the Cubs broadcast. (Tearful farewells get me almost every time.)

I wish him the best. He loved the game and obviously lots of Sox fans liked him in the booth ... we should all be so lucky.
   25. JAHV Posted: September 24, 2018 at 05:43 PM (#5750897)
He didn't affect me much since I didn't watch all that many White Sox games, but...well, that's the nicest thing I can say about Hawk. I hope he enjoys his retirement as much as we will.
   26. Khrushin it bro Posted: September 24, 2018 at 07:21 PM (#5750968)
HE GONE!
   27. Leroy Kincaid Posted: September 24, 2018 at 08:59 PM (#5751017)
I honestly thought he was already gone.

What I appreciated about White Sox TV broadcasts (and I didn't see a whole bunch) was that Hawk and Stone didn't seem to yap as much as others. A bad announcer who can STFU every once in a while is more tolerable than a good one who falls in love with the sound of his voice.
   28. flournoy Posted: September 24, 2018 at 10:07 PM (#5751060)
How is it that the term "announcer" came to apply to broadcasters? Shouldn't they be called broadcasters or commentators, and the guy speaking over the PA system called an announcer?

EDIT: I guess if you subject yourself to baseball movies, you'll assume that those terms all apply to the same person.
   29. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 24, 2018 at 10:26 PM (#5751086)
I've never been to Chicago, so I've never heard Hawk call a White Sox game, except for very brief snippets I've heard on highlight shows. So I'm not going to comment on his broadcasting skills. But I've always found it fascinating that an ex-player can become so closely identified with a team that he never played for. I can understand a manager being identified with a team he never played for - he's wearing the uniform. I have no problem at all with someone thinking of Bruce Bochy as a Giant, or Joe Torre as a Yankee. And yes, I know that Harrelson was in the White Sox front office for a short spell. But I think of Harrelson as a Red Sox, because that's where his greatest moments as a player came. But then again, he only played 183 games for Boston, less than he did for the A's or Indians. But his production in Boston was way out of line with his career stats - a 141 OPS+, as compared with 103, 100, and 94 in his other three stops. To me, he's a Red Sox.
   30. Howie Menckel Posted: September 24, 2018 at 10:51 PM (#5751103)
I was around 7 or 8 years old when my parents bought me a copy of Harrelson's biography (who let one great season go to waste?).

He is wearing a Nehru jacket on the cover, I was told.

around this time I also got bios of Kirby Higbe and Pete Rose - the latter of course entitled, "Charlie Hustle."
   31. winnipegwhip Posted: September 25, 2018 at 10:26 AM (#5751265)
He is wearing a Nehru jacket on the cover, I was told.


That Nehru guy was a one-hit wonder in the fashion world.

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