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Al Kaline will pinch hit for ailing Ernie Harwell next week

Spoke to Hall of Famer and former Tiger Al Kaline today about Ernie Harwell, for whom he will accept the Vin Scully Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports Broadcasting at the annual fundraiser for Fordham's WFUV next Wednesday.

Harwell, 92, is gravely ill with cancer.

"It's going to be very emotional," Kaline said. "I'm very humbled. It's like a manager saying, 'Hey, go pinch hit for Ted Williams.'"

Kaline said Harwell is "probably the most loved person who has ever been involved in major league sports in this town and this state. He's a God-like figure loved by everybody.

"Nobody ever says a bad word about him. He is just a father figure to so many people in this town, and Tiger fans everywhere. He is just a very, very unique and special individual."

Kaline worked one season in the TV booth with Harwell, and found him to be the same easygoing figure he knew from his playing days.

"He always was even-keel," he said. "Me being a former player, I'd be depressed when they lost."

Kaline recalled the speech Harwell made to Tigers fans last season after he was diagnosed and announced he would not pursue aggressive treatment.

"It was so emotional for him to stand out there and say he didn’t have long to live and was happy it was going to happen in the state of Michigan. That was very, very emotional."

That's enough blog catching up for today. More Friday.

Enjoy the Mets' off day. Their winning streak lives!

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