Ernie, Sr: “That Ball Is Outta Here”

To say that listening to Ernie Johnson, Senior’s play-by-play was a reason why this young kid grew up to be a sportscaster would be inaccurate. But Ernie’s style of communicating, personable, professional, positive and fun, confirmed what I believe(d) is integral for a play-by-play storyteller or sports journalist – and so I went forward. Ernie passed away this week at 87. You may recall him from TBS when the Braves were on Ted’s Superstation. But mainly it was radio that brought Ernie, Sr into my life. Later I worked in the same press-box and covered those same teams, but never could I put myself into his class. Ernie was a big leaguer, a hall of famer and a gamer in my book. He didn’t dwell on the negative. I don’t remember hearing him whine. His opinions were based on experience and knowledge and observation. But mostly, the man seemed to live and love the game and sharing it’s stories every day.
His son, Ernie Jr, is a terrific dude, too. A sportscasting pro in his own right and in his own style, clearly influenced by his father’s laughter. As was I.
Somewhere Braves baseball is on the air up there, and Ernie has his net handy, just in case a foul ball comes his way.

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