With three outs to go, the sportswriters crowding the booth are straining to hear Ernie's last words. But something unexpected happens. Writers who normally jostle to remain within earshot of a subject the way power forwards fight for rebounds suddenly part ways and usher Parravano to a position right beside Ernie.
Now, with a runner on first and one out, Cal Ripken Jr. grounds to third to set up one of the Harwell trademarks. "Two for the price of one!" And then, "We'll be back in a moment, folks. I've got my little script here."
When the engineer signals 15 seconds, Ernie smiles and gets out a piece of paper. Five seconds, four, three, two, one: "I've had a gratifying career as your Tiger announcer, and now I say goodbye. I'll never be able to repay all the warmth and affection you fans have shown me.... I agree with Satchel Paige and William Shakespeare. Old Satch said, 'Don't look back, something may be gaining on you.' And Mr. Shakespeare once wrote, 'To have done is to hang quite out of fashion.'... Thank you very much, and God bless all of you."
With that, Ernie stands up, hugs Carey, walks up the steps and out of the booth. "I feel terrific," he tells the writers. Out on the field, the ceremonies for Memorial Stadium's closing are in full flower, so nobody notices Ernie walking through the press box. But that's just as well because he has a train to catch.
Fifteen minutes later, Ernie is sitting on a bench in Baltimore's Penn Station, waiting for the 6:33 to New York, where he has an engagement. A man walks up and says, "I thought that was you. My name is Steve, and I'm from McBain, Michigan, and I just want to tell you how much pleasure you've given me over the years. Why, I stayed up to all hours this last week, listening to WJR. Thank you, Mr. Harwell."
"No, thank you," says Ernie.
Ernie deserved better than what the Tigers gave him. Ironically, the Orioles might be the ones to make amends. There is a possibility that Ernie will be doing games for them next year in their new stadium. You can just hear him saying, "There's one for a fan from Havre de Grace."