hawk harrelson

Hawk Harrelson was signed by the Kansas City Royals in 1959, and since then he has a constant presence in baseball, as a player, a manager and a broadcaster.

Now 75, Harrelson still calls games for the Chicago White Sox, but he is clearly nearing the end. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, his final goal is to last until 2020, so he can claim to have been part of baseball for eight decades, joining Vin Scully, Dave Garcia and Don Zimmer in that distinction.

Here’s the rub: Harrelson might not be in the broadcast booth through 2020.

“I didn’t say I wanted to broadcast four more years,’’ Harrelson told the Sun-Times. “The main thing is I just want to be in baseball four more years, not necessarily broadcasting.”

Harrelson said he will do Sox broadcasts this season, “and if I decide to do some games next year … it’s up to them.’’

Harrelson, who agreed to a multiyear extension before the 2016 season, could serve the Sox into 2020 as an ambassador or similar capacity, perhaps making occasional appearances in the booth.

By 2020, “it will definitely be enough,’’ he said. “Even if it’s for one day.’’

Harrelson, who has been calling White Sox games since 1990, limited his broadcasting schedule in 2016 to only road games so he could spend more time with his family, and it sounds as if he’ll cut back even further in the near future.

His current sentiment about leaving the booth diverges sharply from what he told the New York Times in 2013.

Harrelson, who goes by the nickname the Hawk, said he would be calling a White Sox game against the Yankees and Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko would step to the plate against C. C. Sabathia.

“Here’s the pitch,” Harrelson, 71, said, his voice rising. “That ball hit deep, way back. Curtis Granderson looks up, you can put it on the board — ”

Before he finished his signature call, Harrelson slumped in his chair and dropped his head, feigning his perfect ending.

I want to die in the booth,” he said. “Just like that.

Harrelson has long been one of the most polarizing figures in baseball. If you’re a White Sox fan, you likely love his enthusiasm, his signature calls and his love of the White Sox. If you’re not a White Sox fan, there’s a strong chance you resent his unapologetic homerism and resistance to statistics.

Harrelson’s likely successor in the White Sox booth is well-regarded 33-year-old Jason Benetti, who worked home games last year. It might be time for Hawk to pass the reins.

[Chicago Sun-Times]

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for MLB.com, SI.com, the Hartford Courant, Baseball Prospectus, Land of 10, VICE Sports and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • blipsman

    As a White Sox fan, I still hate Hawk and he’s the biggest reason I don’t watch more games on TV. He’s devolved into a parody of himself with his excessive catch phrases, and while I’m all for local broadcast booth to be homers, he’s like a pouting child every time a call doesn’t go the Sox’s way or they’re playing poorly on the field.

  • stevesteffens

    One note: He was signed by the Kansas City Athletics, as the Royals would not exist for another decade. Otherwise, good news for us all!

  • Chad Haynes

    grew up with the hawkaroo in louisville ky when we got the sox games on wgn loved when it was hawk and wimpy in the booth

  • chaz

    In his retirement, he”ll be an understudy on the Simpsons for – you guessed it – Homer.

  • Borgus

    I think he should dial it all the way back to a porch, a rocking chair and a vague stare into the distance.
    I do.