Hawk Harrelson – Love Him Or Hate Him, He’s Ours
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By Brian Madsen (White Sox Correspondent): Follow @brianm731
“You can put it on the boaaaaaard!! Yeeeeeeeeeesssss!!” Almost all baseball fans are familiar with that catch phrase. Some love it, some hate it.
It belongs to Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, play by play TV announcer for the Chicago White Sox since 1982. Though he took a year off in 1986 to become the White Sox GM. That position didn’t suit Hawk very well (he fired Tony La Russa and traded Bobby Bonilla during his GM stint), and he jumped right back into the broadcast booth. He then called games for the Yankees in 1987 and 1988, and NBC until 1989.
In 1990, he once again became the Sox color man and has held that position until today. He’s been a polarizing figure ever since. I would say 70% of Sox fans love him, with the other 30% having grown tired of him over the years, and just want something new (and some hating him of course).
Hawk is as big of a “homer” as a “homer” can get. He loves when the Sox win, and hates when the Sox lose. He’s a fan, just like the rest of us. Except, when I’m in my living room, generally by myself, yelling and screaming at the TV, my wife and daughters may hear me. Hawk’s rants and blowups resonate with thousands of people on a nightly basis.
Hawk produced a famous rant last season when Mark Wegner threw Jose Quintana out of the game for throwing behind Ben Zobrist. The rant was on radio stations and TV all across the country. In fact, it became such a big deal, that White Sox owner and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf had to sit down with Hawk and “have a little talk”.
Hawk has been paired with a few different color commentators over the years. Most recently, he’s been partnered with Steve Stone. Stone was the color man for the crosstown Cubs for many years alongside Harry Caray (Harry was also the White Sox play-by-play man years earlier. Weird how both sides of town cross paths). Stone played for both the Sox and Cubs, and won a CY Young award for the Orioles in 1980.
Some thought Stone’s calming presence would have an influence on Hawk. It has not. At times, Hawk and Stone seem to have problems seeing eye to eye. They almost parted ways after the 2012 season. But, supposedly he and Hawk had a sit down, ironed out their differences, and Stone returned this season.
Darrin Jackson, otherwise known as DJ to Sox fans, was Stone’s predecessor. Jackson was also a former player of the Sox (and the Cubs). He and Hawk were also rumored to have their differences. Eventually, they parted ways, and DJ flipped over to the Sox radio booth to work with Ed Farmer. Farmer, also a former Sox player, seems to get along much better with DJ. Are you sensing a theme here?
Tom Paciorek, known as “Wimpy” to Sox fans, (and probably many Sox fans favorite) was the Sox color man for 12 seasons alongside Hawk. But again, they were also rumored to have their disagreements, and Paciorek moved on.
Hawk is apparently not an easy man to get along with in the booth. Although, from time to time Paciorek will fill in for Stone when he’s ill. He and Hawk seem to be best of pals. Was the bad blood just rumor? Who knows. But both love the Sox, and it’s very obvious.
Hawk’s catch phrases (there are many of them, and too many to mention) are his calling card. “He Gone”, something Hawk says when a Sox pitcher strikes out an opposing batter, has become one of the most famous in his arsenal.
Hawk has been absent the last two games against the Cubs. Probably a good thing, considering the Sox poor showing. After a good stretch with a 9-3 record in the previous 12 games, the Sox have now lost three in a row. This season seems like it will be a never ending roller coaster for the Sox. And as a Sox fan, that doesn’t bode well for a Hawk Harrelson broadcast.
You could sit most Sox fans down in a room, blind-folded, with the Sox TV broadcast on, and just by the tone in Hawk’s voice, most would be able to tell whether the Sox were winning or losing. He’s a fan, just like the rest of us. He may not be the most rational of fans, just like the rest of us. For better or for worse, Hawk is here. Love him or hate him, he’s ours.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A big thank-you goes out to our ‘White Sox Correspondent’ Brian Madsen for preparing today’s featured article. Brian was born and raised in Chicago Heights, IL, a south suburb of Chicago. He attended Illinois St. University, majoring in education/teaching. Brian now lives in Joliet, IL with his wife Suzanne two daughters, Abby, 9, and Grace, 4.
He has worked at The Little Guys Home Technology for 12 years as a salesman/system designer/custom integrator. Brian is an avid White Sox, Bears, Blackhawks, and Bulls fan. Follow @brianm731
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Posted on June 1, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @brianm731 on twitter, ben zobrist, bobby bonilla, Brian Madsen, chicao white sox, darrin jackson, harry caray, hawk harrelson, jose quintana, mark wegner, steve stone, tom paciorek, tony la russa. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.