Jerry Howarth, radio voice of Blue Jays for 36 years, retires
Veteran sports broadcaster dealing with health issues that are affecting his voice
Jerry Howarth, the radio broadcast voice of the Toronto Blue Jays for 36 years, is retiring.
Howarth, 71, is struggling with "health issues affecting his voice," a news release said, and his retirement as radio announcer is effective immediately.
"I had every intention of continuing my career into the 2018 season, but my health and stamina and continuing voice issues dictated otherwise," Howath is quoted as saying in the statement.
"Who knew that I would spend more than half my life in Toronto with my wife, Mary, and our two sons, Ben and Joe, doing what I love to do most, reaching out to friends and fans alike across our great country to talk baseball?"
Congratulations on a wonderful career, Jerry!<br><br>We wish you the best in retirement. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThankYouJerry?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThankYouJerry</a> <a href="https://t.co/bHI6dpUKgH">pic.twitter.com/bHI6dpUKgH</a>—@BlueJays
The Blue Jays stalwart joined the club in 1981 and has broadcast an estimated 7,500 professional baseball games in his career. A native of York, Pa., who was raised in San Francisco, Howarth began his broadcast career in 1974 with the Tacoma Twins of the Pacific Coast League.
Howarth called Toronto's back-to-back World Series victories in 1992 and 1993 with Tom Cheek, who died in 2005 from brain cancer.
Jerry Howarth is a part of the <a href="https://twitter.com/BlueJays?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BlueJays</a> and part of Toronto. On behalf of all Toronto residents and Blue Jays fans, I wish Jerry a long and happy retirement. He's a very special person and we will miss his voice on the air. <a href="https://t.co/xXAa2QW3YY">pic.twitter.com/xXAa2QW3YY</a>—@JohnTory
'The Blue Jays are in flight'
Perhaps best known for his 'There She Goes!' home run call, Howarth has used a steady, warm, conversational style throughout his long career.
Starting at spring training each year, Howarth would keep notes in a thick spiral notebook that would be kept close at hand throughout the season. His preparation was meticulous and he would score each game using a shorthand all his own.
News of <a href="https://twitter.com/BlueJays?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BlueJays</a> radio legend Jerry Howarth's retirement fills me w/ great memories. As a kid, I'd tuck transistor radio under pillow to listen as Tom & Jerry called late-night games from West Coast. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ThankYouJerry?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ThankYouJerry</a>! We were privileged to have you!—@Paul_TO
A man of routine, he would provide consistent refrains while on the air and would weave in stories from his decades in the sport and often used trademark lines like "He scorrrrres" or "The Blue Jays are in flight" as he called the action.
In 2016, a small tumour was discovered when Howarth underwent a magnetic resonance imaging scan after learning he had elevated prostate-specific antigen test numbers. The tumour and his prostate gland were removed and doctors declared Howarth cancer-free after the procedure.
He returned to the booth in time for the 2017 season but had to miss 21 games after a virus in late April led to laryngitis.
There was no immediate word from the Blue Jays franchise about a successor.
Last summer I went down to Wrigley Field and saw the <a href="https://twitter.com/BlueJays?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BlueJays</a> play. A lot of us Jays fans did a tour of Wrigley prior to it opening on game day and we all hoped to see somebody famous during the tour. Sure enough, we saw Jerry Howarth. We all clapped as he walked past us! <a href="https://t.co/lDrGZ5ZTsS">pic.twitter.com/lDrGZ5ZTsS</a>—@ArthurJGallant
With files from CBC News