Hawk Harrelson

Hawk Harrelson calls it a career: 'I've been blessed, but it's over'

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AP

Hawk Harrelson calls it a career: 'I've been blessed, but it's over'

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.”

Set for 2017 finale, Jason Benetti discusses Hawk's impact on his career

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Set for 2017 finale, Jason Benetti discusses Hawk's impact on his career

On the eve of his final game as a part-time broadcaster, Jason Benetti can’t help but think of the influence Hawk Harrelson has had on his career.

Benetti, who replaces Harrelson as the full-time White Sox play-by-play man next season, will call his final regular season game of 2017 on Thursday night. The White Sox host the Los Angeles Angels on CSN Chicago at 7 p.m. The White Sox finish the season on the road and Harrelson, who will work a reduced schedule in 2018, is back in the booth for the final three games at Cleveland.

“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,” Benetti said. “That was the first person that shaped me doing this. There are moments, I even asked in the middle of a ball flying out last night, I said, ‘Did he get him again?’ about Parker Bridwell. ‘The answer is an emphatic yes.’ I said, Ooh. Can I say yes? It didn’t have the prelude, but yeah. He’s done so much with the vocabulary that you think about it all the time.”

Hired before the 2016 season, Benetti looks forward to working a full slate of games in 2018. He’s expected to call around 140-plus games while Harrelson will be behind the mic for 20. Unlike this season, Benetti will travel on the road full time with the exception of a few series.

[RELATED - How Jason Benetti traveled over 1,000 miles to call three different games in less than 24 hours]

The past two seasons, Benetti has watched along from home or listened whenever the White Sox have been away. He said that has been a bit of a challenge after working as a full-time broadcaster since 2005.

“I’m used to doing them all,” Benetti said. “I watch the games whenever I can. Whenever I’m not on the air I watch the games or listen to the games. Always, no question about it, always fill out my scorebook. My scorebook has the whole season in it regardless. So either I’ll go back on game day and fill it out or I’ll fill it out live, but I’m reading the clips. That’s what I do. It’s a part of my morning.”

Harrelson’s signature calls have always been a big part of Benetti’s life as the Homewood-Flossmoor product grew up a White Sox fan. He’s not at all surprised to see the impact Harrelson has had carry over to social media. Both the sons of Todd Frazier and Yoan Moncada have been recorded mimicking Harrelson’s “Yesssss” home run call.

“That’s thousands upon thousands upon thousands of kids in Chicagoland,” Benetti said. “That’s just what you grow up with in Chicago. Even if you’re a fan of the other team in Chicago, you know Hawk and you know his catchphrases. Even if you say you don’t really like them, you use them. And if you love him, you use them.”

Cubs fire an epic shot at Hawk Harrelson after Anthony Rizzo homer

Cubs fire an epic shot at Hawk Harrelson after Anthony Rizzo homer

Shots fired.

Hawk Harrelson irked Cubs fans when he laid into Wrigley Field earlier this month saying he would never go back there again.

The Cubs have fired back, with an epic Tweet following Anthony Rizzo's home run in the fourth inning of Monday night's game against the Cincinnati Reds.

Rizzo blast reached Sheffield Ave., prompting this response:

Yes, that is the exact quote from the enigamatic Hawk, who said this to Dan Hayes and other White Sox reporters on Aug. 6:

“Fenway is just a special place,” Harrelson said. “Look at this ballpark. As we talked about the other day, the only one (visiting clubhouse) worse is Wrigley Field, the two worst clubhouses in baseball for visiting players. I’ll tell you this much, I’ll never go back to Wrigley Field again. We’ve got three games over at their place, and I told Jerry the other day before we came on this trip, I said, ‘I’m not going back to Wrigley Field.’

"He said, ‘Well, you’ve got three games there next year.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m talking with (Bob) Grim. We’re going to get rid of those.’ “Worst press box, worst booths for television. It’s a joke. It really is. And so, Jason (Benetti) is getting ready for those three at Wrigley. I will never step foot in that ballpark again. Ever.”

The Tweet exploded in all corners of Chicago social media. The Crosstown Classic may be done for 2017, but the war of words lives on...