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Detroit Tigers Opening Day Countdown: 2 Days

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Previously:
15 Days: Number of Ryan Raburn Home Runs in 2010
14 Days: Number of Cards in 2003 Topps Base Set
13 Days: Number of Starts by Jacob Turnerfor Lakeland in 2010
12 Days: Number of Franchise Playoff Appearances
11 Days: Number of Tigers Rookie Debuts in 2010
10 Days: Number American League Pennants Won
9 Days: Number Consecutive Years With Only One All-Star
8 Days: All-time Rank in Interleague Play Win Percentage
7 Days: Number of Victories until Jim Leyland Reaches Career Win Number 1500
6 Days: Attendance Rank in 2010
5 Days: Number of Major League Starts Made By Andy Oliver in 2010
4 Days: Number of Consecutive Opening Day Starts by Justin Verlander
3 Days: Number of Division Titles in Team History

This isn’t going to be a fun post to write. Because with only two days remaining in our countdown, we pause to remember two people that we all lost last year.

The news of Ernie Harwell’s passing wasn’t shocking, we knew that he had been battling cancer and that it was only a matter of time, but I don’t think any of us were ready for it, because I don’t think any of us expected him to die.

He was the everlasting voice of the Tigers; a true ambassador for the game. I don’t think anyone did much work the next day — I know I didn’t. I was scouring the internet eating up every tribute piece that was written. I’ll admit to shedding more than a few tears over my lunch break as I typed out my own feeble post in honor of Ernie.

Here’s a set of classic Ernie calls for your enjoyment.

And a tribute video.

The news of Sparky Anderson’s passing came much more quickly. One day we learned he was ill, and the next day he was gone.

As kids we were fortunate to go to a game or two a year with tickets my dad obtained through work. The seats were in the Tiger Den which, in the old stadium, used to be the first few rows between the Tigers’ dugout and bullpen. On one such occasion, we were handed a package of sunflower seeds by someone in the dugout saying “Sparky didn’t use these” (or something to that effect). Apparently they were from his personal stash, and I got a major kick out of it.

Just as Ernie will always be the voice of the Tigers, Sparky will always be the manager. That was the way things were when I was a kid, and that’s how I’ll always see it.

Here’s a tribute.

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