Jerry Howarth

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Jerry Howarth
Born (1946-03-12) March 12, 1946 (age 71)
York, Pennsylvania
Occupation Toronto Blue Jays play-by-play announcer
Years active 1981–present

Jerry Howarth (born March 12, 1946) is an American Canadian recognized as the voice of the Toronto Blue Jays, doing the play-by-play for the team's radio broadcasts, a position he has held for the Major League Baseball (MLB) team since 1981.

Early career[edit]

Born in York, Pennsylvania, and raised in San Francisco, California, Howarth grew up an avid sports fan. He graduated with a degree in Economics from the University of Santa Clara in 1968, then served two years in the U.S. Army. He launched his career as a sportscaster in 1974 by calling play-by-play action for AAA baseball's Tacoma Twins of the Pacific Coast League, as well as baseball and football action for the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. In 1976, Howarth became the play-by-play voice of the Salt Lake City Gulls, also of the Pacific Coast League. Howarth was then hired as the Assistant General Manager and performed double duty as play-by-play man for the Salt Lake City Prospectors of the short-lived Western Basketball Association. Howarth was then hired by the NBA's Utah Jazz before joining KWMS radio in Salt Lake as Sports Director and sports talk show host.[1]

Toronto Blue Jays[edit]

In 1981, Howarth split his time between his radio duties in Salt Lake and his new career in Toronto where he worked part of the 1981 Blue Jays season as a commentator. In 1982, he joined Tom Cheek as full-time play-by-play partner. For the next 23 years, "Tom and Jerry" would be the radio voice of the Blue Jays. Their partnership covered the rise of the Blue Jays through the 1980s, culminating with back to back World Series Championships in 1992 and 1993.

In 2004, Tom Cheek was diagnosed with brain cancer, but continued to broadcast with Howarth. Cheek's health continued to deteriorate, eventually forcing him to discontinue his broadcasting career midway through the 2005 season. Howarth became the sole play-by-play broadcaster for Blue Jays games at this time and Warren Sawkiw filled in as analyst. Cheek died on 9 October 2005. Sawkiw continued to work alongside Howarth through the end of the 2006 Blue Jays season. In 2007, Sawkiw was replaced in the booth by former Blue Jay catcher Alan Ashby. Howarth continued to be the lead voice of the Toronto Blue Jays with Ashby serving as game analyst, until the end of the 2012 season. Howarth worked alongside Jack Morris in 2013, and with Joe Siddall since 2014. Host of "Blue Jays Talk" Mike Wilner also provided play-by-play for some innings, Duane Ward supplied colour commentary for some games during the 2014 and 2015 season and Kevin Barker supplied color for some games during the 2016 season.

On August 11, 2012, Howarth was awarded the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame's Jack Graney Award.[2]

In October 2016, prior to the American League Championship Series between Toronto and Cleveland, Howarth revealed in an interview on CJCL that in 1992, he had quietly taken a vow to not use team nicknames or expressions on-air that he considered to be offensive to aboriginal Canadians or Native Americans, such as the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians. He began the practice after receiving a letter from a listener who was a member of a First Nation group, whose writer explained that the names were offensive. Howarth felt the letter was written "in such a loving, kind way" and that it had "touched [his] heart", which led him to respect their wishes.[3] Renu Mandhane, chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, supported Howarth's position, and called upon other media outlets to stop using the name in the wake of Cleveland's playoff series.[4] On November 16, 2016, it was announced that Howarth had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and that he would undergo surgery in the following week to remove a small tumour from his prostate.[5]

Catchphrases[edit]

  • "It's time to play ball, here at (stadium name)!" (said as the first pitch of the game is delivered)
  • "The Blue Jays are in flight ..." (after the Blue Jays score their first run of the game)
  • "Swiiing and a miss, he struck him out!" (when a Blue Jays pitcher strikes out a hitter swinging)
  • "Call it two, a double play!"
  • "Up! Up! Up! And there she goes!" (Blue Jays' home run call, sometimes preceded with "Yes, sir ... " or "Let's admire that one ..." )
  • "He's one for ("blank") today, but oh what a one!" ("Said when recapping a hitter's box score if he's already hit a home run")
  • "The stretch, and the (blank) pitch", (before the next pitch is thrown)
  • "(Lined/ground ball to the left side/up the middle/to the right side) ... throoouuugh for a base hit!"
  • "There goes another one!" (said either after a hitter hits his second or more home run of the game or after a back-to-back home run)
  • "(Blue Jay player) scoooooores / (Blue Jay player) around third, he scoooooores!"
  • "Hooking, hooking ... foul / fair down the left/right field line!"
  • "Hello, friends! This is Jerry Howarth, along with Joe Siddall and Mike Wilner..."
  • "We'll pause for a little 'Take Me Out to the Ball Game' ... " (Said as a lead in to a commercial break after the top of the seventh inning is completed)
  • "Back here at (stadium name) ... oh, what a night/an afternoon!" (Said after the first commercial break of a completed game when the Blue Jays win)
  • "The throw ... not in tiiime / he got him! (Said after an infielder attempts a force out to another infielder covering a base)
  • "The tag and the slide ... he's in theeere / and OUT at second / third base!" (Said after an infielder attempts to tag out the baserunner on either an extra base hit attempt or a stolen base attempt)
  • "Deeelighted to have you with us on The Blue Jays radio network - and on the internet, where ever you happen to be!"
  • "And the wave is splashing around now here in the Rogers Centre"
  • "As easy as one-two-three" (said after a 1-2-3 double play ball")
  • "Settle in, great to have you with us here" (Before the commercial break at the bottom of the 1st inning)

Personal[edit]

Howarth, who became a Canadian citizen in 1994,[6] lives in Toronto with his wife Mary. They have two sons, Joe and Ben.[7] He also coaches basketball at Etobicoke Collegiate Institute.[8] Howarth is also known for his active support and fund raising efforts on behalf of the Special Olympics.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Toronto Blue Jays Broadcasters". 
  2. ^ "Jack Graney Presentation to Jerry Howarth". 
  3. ^ Edwards, Peter (October 11, 2016). "Jerry Howarth refuses to say Cleveland team name". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 11, 2016. 
  4. ^ Ashley Csanady (October 11, 2016). "Don't use Cleveland's team name when covering next Blue Jays series, human rights commissioner urges". National Post. 
  5. ^ "Blue Jays announcer Jerry Howarth battling prostate cancer". Sportsnet. November 16, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2016. 
  6. ^ Elliott, Bob. Canadian homers SLAM! Sports, 5 August 2007.
  7. ^ "Toronto Blue Jays Broadcasters". MLB.com. Retrieved July 10, 2016. 
  8. ^ Iaboni, John. "'BoniBlog – Defining Jerry Howarth". sportsmediacanada.ca. Retrieved July 10, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Jerry Howarth to receive Canadian ball hall's Jack Graney Award on Sunday". cooperstownersincanada.com. Retrieved July 10, 2016.