Ken Harrelson

Infobox MLB retired
bgcolor1=#003831
bgcolor2=#003831
textcolor1=white
textcolor2=white
name=Ken Harrelson


ImageWidth=
position=First baseman/Outfielder
birthdate =birth date and age|1941|9|4
city-state|Woodruff|South Carolina
bats=Right
throws=Right
debutdate=June 9
debutyear=by|1963
debutteam=Kansas City Athletics
finaldate=June 20
finalyear=by|1971
finalteam=Cleveland Indians
stat1label=Batting average
stat1value=.239
stat2label=Home runs
stat2value=131
stat3label=RBI
stat3value=421
teams=
*Kansas City Athletics (1963–1966, 1967)
*Washington Senators (1966–1967)
*Boston Red Sox (1967–1969)
*Cleveland Indians (1969–1971)
highlights=
*All-Star (AL): 1968

Kenneth Smith Harrelson (born September 4, 1941 in Woodruff, South Carolina), nicknamed "The Hawk" due to his distinctive profile, is a former first baseman and outfielder in Major League Baseball who currently serves as a television broadcast announcer for the Chicago White Sox.

Early life

Ken Harrelson was born on September 4, 1941 in Woodruff, South Carolina. Hawk and his family moved from Woodruff to Savannah, Georgia when he was in fifth grade. As a child Harrelson was interested in basketball and he hoped to pursue a basketball scholarship from Kentucky.His own parents divorced when he was eightcite web|url=http://www.historicbaseball.com/players/h/harrelson_ken.html|title=Ken Harrelson|accessdate=2007-04-21|publisher=Historic Baseball]

He played golf, baseball, football and basketball at Benedictine Military School in Savannah, Georgia. While he was still in high school, Harrelson met his first wife, Betty Ann Pacifi, whom he would marry that year. That marriage ended after 14 years and four children.

Playing career

Throwing and batting right-handed, Harrelson played for four teams: the Kansas City Athletics (1963-66, 1967), Washington Senators (1966-67), Boston Red Sox (1967-69), and Cleveland Indians (1969-71). In his nine-season career, Harrelson was a .239 hitter with 131 home runs and 421 RBI in 900 games.

His time with the Athletics ended abruptly in by|1967 when Harrelson angrily denounced team owner Charlie Finley following the dismissal of manager Alvin Dark. Saying that Finley was "a menace to baseball," Harrelson was released and ended up signing a lucrative deal with the Boston Red Sox, who were in contention to win their first pennant since by|1946.

Harrelson is often credited with inventing the batting glove by wearing a golf glove while at bat with the A's; however, Peter Morris' book "A Game Of Inches" says the batting glove may have been used as early as by|1901 by Hughie Jennings, and were definitely used by Lefty O'Doul and Johnny Frederick of the Brooklyn Dodgers in by|1932, and later by Bobby Thomson in the 1950s. Morris does credit Harrelson with reintroducing the batting glove in the 1960s.

Brought in to replace the injured Tony Conigliaro, Harrelson helped the team win the pennant, but watched the team drop a close World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. However, in by|1968, he had his finest season, making the American League All-Star team and leading the American League in runs batted in with 109.

On April 19, by|1969, Harrelson was traded to the Indians, a move that shocked him and led him to briefly retire. Following conversations with commissioner Bowie Kuhn and a contract adjustment by Cleveland, Harrelson reported to the team, finishing the year with 30 home runs. He also used his local celebrity to briefly host a half-hour program entitled, "The Hawk's Nest" on local CBS affiliate, WJW-TV.

During spring training the following year, Harrelson suffered a broken leg while sliding into second base during a March 19 exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics. The injury kept him on the sidelines for much of the season. When Indian rookie Chris Chambliss took control of the first base position in by|1971, Harrelson decided to retire to pursue a professional golf career.

General manager and broadcaster

After his time on the links brought minimal compensation over the next few years, Harrelson turned to a broadcasting career, beginning in by|1975 with the Red Sox on WSBK-TV, partnering with Dick Stockton.cite web|url=http://wgntv.trb.com/sports/wgntv-harrelson-kenbio,0,4432554.story?coll=wgntv-sports-3|title=Ken "Hawk" Harrelson|accessdate=2007-04-19|publisher=WGNTV.com] He became highly popular, especially after being teamed with veteran play-by-play man Ned Martin in by|1979, but after being publicly critical of player personnel decisions made by Boston co-owner Haywood Sullivan, Harrelson was fired at the close of the by|1981 season.Fact|date=April 2007

Harrelson served as a Chicago White Sox announcer from 1982 to 1985 and briefly left broadcasting during the 1986 season to become the White Sox's General Manager. Many people questioned his work ethic as a GM because he was often found on the golf course instead of in the office. In addition, others questioned his personnel decisions. During that one season, Harrelson fired field manager Tony LaRussa (who was soon hired by the Oakland Athletics, whom he led to three consecutive AL pennants) and assistant general manager Dave Dombrowski (who become baseball's youngest general manager with the Montreal Expos just two years later). Harrelson also traded rookie Bobby Bonilla, later a six-time All-Star, to the Pittsburgh Pirates for pitcher Jose DeLeon.

During the 1987–1988 season he was the play-by-play man for New York Yankees games on SportsChannel New York.

In 1994, Hawk served as a broadcaster for the short-lived Baseball Network.

Since by|1990, he has served as the main play-by-play announcer for the White Sox television broadcasts teaming up with Tom "Wimpy" Paciorek till 2000 and "DJ" Darrin Jackson from 2000 - Present. Hawk has become known as one of the ultimate "homer" (home-town enthusiast) broadcasters. During this time he won five Emmy Awards and two Illinois Sportscaster of the Year awards.cite web|url=http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/team/broadcasters.jsp?c_id=cws|title=Broadcasters: Ken Harrelson|accessdate=2008-02-09|publisher=MLB Advanced Media] Harrelson is known for his often used catchphrases such as, "He gone!" or "Grab some bench!" after a strikeout of an opposing player, "Sacks packed with Sox," when the bases are loaded, and referring to the White Sox as "the good guys" (based on the team's mid-90's slogan "Good Guys Wear Black"). He is best known for his home run call, which for the White Sox is an enthusiastic cry while the ball is in flight, "He looks up... You can put it on the booooard... YES!", with Jackson joining him on the "YES". When an opponent homers, Harrelson will simply state, matter-of-factly, "Put it on the board." or simply stating the score. The expression "He gone!" connects with the similar CB-radio expression, which Harrelson cited directly when wrapping up the Sox victory parade in 2005: "We" gone!"

Harrelson coined many nicknames for popular Sox players, including "Black Jack" McDowell, Carlos "El Caballo" Lee, Lance "One Dog" Johnson, Frank "The Big Hurt" Thomas, Craig "Little Hurt" Grebeck, "The Deacon" Warren Newson, "Big Bad" Bobby Jenks, "The Silent Assassin" Javier Vazquez, and Herbert "the Milkman" Perry.

Personal life

Harrelson, 67, and his wife, Aris, have been married since 1973 and have two children, daughter Krista and son Casey, and two grandchildren, Nico and Alexander. He also has a son, Michael, from a former marriage. His son Casey, who played in the White Sox minor league system in 1999, is currently a professional golfer. The family resides in Orlando, Fla.

ee also

* Top 500 home run hitters of all time
* List of Major League Baseball RBI champions
* Major League Baseball hitters with three home runs in one game

References

* The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary, Harvest Books (February 15, 1999) ISBN 978-0156005807

External links

*baseball-reference|id=h/harreke01
* [http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/H/Harrelson_Ken.stm Baseball Library] - profile and chronology
* [http://wgntv.trb.com/sports/wgntv-harrelson-kenbio,0,4432554.story?coll=wgntv-sports-3 WGN-TV bio]
* [http://www.sportscenteraltar.com/phrases/usage.asp?ID=41 Full list of Catch Phrases]


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