CLEVELAND -- He gone (for the most part).
Sunday’s broadcast marked the end of a 33-year run as the White Sox full-time play-by-play announcer for Hawk Harrelson. Harrelson, who also was the White Sox general manager for one season (1986), officially announced plans to retire and work a reduced schedule earlier in the season. He’s set to call 20 games in 2018 as Jason Benetti moves into the full-time role.
“Baseball’s been great to me,” Harrelson said. “I’ve been blessed. I love this game.
“It’s been a good ride. I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve been blessed, but it’s over.”
The Cleveland Indians honored Harrelson with a video montage in the first inning. Harrelson spent parts of three seasons with the Indians (1969-71) and thinks his former team has what it takes to win the World Series this season. He also thinks highly of the White Sox chances, though believes they’ll be ready to compete in 2020, not 2019. Part of Harrelson’s belief stems from his trust in manager Rick Renteria as well as the influx of prospects.
“I’m going to have so much fun watching this club,” Harrelson said. “Three years from now this team is going to be a freaking monster. They’ve got the right guy in Renteria.”
Harrelson started to choke up as he discussed the highlights of a career in baseball that began in 1959. He’d like to stay involved in baseball until the 2020 season, which would put him in rare company. If Harrelson works until 2020, he’d join Vin Scully, Tommy Lasorda, Don Zimmer and Dave Garcia as the only people to work eight decades in baseball.
“I went to the World Series in the seventh game,” Harrelson said. “And I think my second-favorite moment was in 2005 when we won the World Series. I’ve had so many great moments that I’ve called. I had 11 no-hitters, a perfect game, Jim Thome’s 500th. Of course, my favorite is Mark Buehrle’s perfect game.
"I did something that I think nobody else has ever done or will ever do again. I called Jermaine Dye’s 300th home run, and the very next hitter was Paul Konerko, and I called his 300th home run the very next hitter. I don’t think that will ever be done again, back-to-back 300th home runs. I’m just so happy.”