Scully remembers 'gentle' Harwell

Scully remembers 'gentle' Harwell

LOS ANGELES -- Vin Scully didn't succeed Ernie Harwell as the Brooklyn Dodgers' play-by-play man in 1950, the Dodgers Hall of Fame announcer said Tuesday, he just happened to sit in Harwell's chair.

Harwell, a Hall of Famer who spent 42 seasons with the Tigers, passed away Tuesday at 92. Harwell was with the Dodgers 1948-49, before Scully came into the job he still holds today.

"He was so gracious and kind. Probably the best word: He was gentle," Scully said. "And it came across. He just cared for people. He loved baseball."

Scully told the bizarre story of Harwell's arrival in Brooklyn. Red Barber had become ill with an ulcer during the 1948 season, so Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey called the independent Atlanta Crackers, where Rickey's friend, Arthur Mann, was an executive.

"He said, 'Arthur, I need your announcer," Scully said. "And Arthur Mann said, I need a catcher. So the Dodgers sent Cliff Dapper to Atlanta, and Atlanta sent Ernie Harwell to Brooklyn. Ernie's the only announcer who's ever been involved in a trade. And it was a trade."