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Feliciano, Carey part of Harwell ceremony

Feliciano, Carey part of Harwell ceremony

DETROIT -- Jose Feliciano became a national headline after Ernie Harwell invited him to perform the national anthem at Tiger Stadium during the 1968 World Series. Paul Carey was Harwell's partner in the broadcast booth for nearly two decades, their two voices forever linked.

Both remained near and dear to Harwell for the rest of his life, and both will be on hand at Comerica Park to celebrate Harwell's life on Monday night.

Tigers officials confirmed that both will be part of their tribute to Harwell, the Hall of Fame broadcaster who passed away on Tuesday at age 92. The presentation will take place prior to the 7:05 p.m. ET game against the Yankees.

In honor of Harwell, Feliciano will return to Detroit to perform the anthem. It was his slower, nontraditional interpretation of the "Star Spangled Banner" before Game 5 of the Fall Classic that generated controversy among veterans who called in to complain, and it marked one of the first times that someone performed a different interpretation of the anthem at a sporting event.

Harwell was in charge of choosing performers for that series, and he later said that he liked it. He was proven right, as Feliciano's version hit the Billboard singles charts once it was released. Harwell and Feliciano remained friends for the next four decades, and Harwell defended the performance for the rest of his life.

The 82-year-old Carey will return to the Tigers to take the mound for the ceremonial first pitch. Born in Mount Pleasant, Mich., Carey joined Harwell to share play-by-play duties on radio broadcasts in 1973. The two remained broadcast partners until after the 1991 season.

In addition to the guest appearances, the Tigers plan to have a touching ceremony to honor their broadcaster of 42 seasons in what will undoubtedly be an emotional night. The patches with Harwell's initials that adorned the Tigers' road jerseys on Wednesday will be on the home uniforms for the rest of the season. Much like George Kell last year, a flag bearing Harwell's initials will be raised in left-center field by former Tigers greats.

A video tribute will honor Harwell's life and career, including his speech to fans last September. Those in attendance on Monday will receive a keepsake commemorating the evening.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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