'Hawk' calls final road series for White Sox

'Hawk' calls final road series for White Sox

CLEVELAND -- Regardless of the final score, Ken "Hawk" Harrelson can already envision what his reaction will be after calling the last out of Sunday's 2017 regular-season finale between the White Sox and Indians at Progressive Field.

"Oh, I'll cry," Harrelson told MLB.com on Friday. "I cry about everything. On the first hole of a golf tournament I start crying. I would thank the good lord he gave me the opportunity to be there on that first tee getting ready to compete."

Harrelson's pending emotions are tied to what will probably be the last three road games broadcast by the iconic television voice of the White Sox. The 2018 campaign will mark Harrelson's 34th and final season with the South Siders, but he mentioned on Friday that his planned 20-game schedule will take place at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Cleveland stands as one of the many places that holds special meaning for the 76-year-old Harrelson. He hit 27 home runs for the Indians in 1969 and played three seasons there altogether.

Although Harrelson hit 131 career home runs over nine seasons, finishing third in the 1968 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting, he will be most remembered for his unique and colorful broadcasting style. His catchphrases transcend generations, with both Todd Frazier's and Yoan Moncada's young sons putting forth the "You can put it on the board! Yes!" home run call on social media.

"I used the catchphrases for so long as a kid that when I first sat in a chair anywhere to do baseball I had to stop myself from saying things he said because they were his," said White Sox television play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti, who will transition from home broadcasts in 2017 to become the voice of the team in '18. "I watched thousands of his games, so you have that in you. That was the first person that shaped me doing this."

Moncada's son imitates Harrelson

"Obviously, he's an icon for the city of Chicago and the Chicago White Sox," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He still has so much information that he can share with players and managers and coaches from the sum of the experiences he's had. It has been a special moment for I think all of us who have gotten to know him a little more and being around him."

Renteria laughed and said he likes "homers" when asked about Harrelson's unabashed passion for the White Sox.

"It's nice to have somebody that's always backing you," Renteria said. "He also can be one of your toughest critics."

All that Harrelson brings to the booth will still be on display in '18. But he knows what Sunday will feel like for him as he reminisces this weekend in Cleveland, just as he did on the White Sox last road trip in Kansas City and Detroit.

"Even if you're a fan of the other team in Chicago, you know Hawk and you know his catchphrases," Benetti said. "Even if you say you don't really like them, you use them. And if you love him, you use them."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.