Howarth says he has 'no regrets' as he leaves Jays' broadcast booth after 36 seasons
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, February 14, 2018 11:10AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 14, 2018 12:25PM EST
Veteran Blue Jays radio broadcaster Jerry Howarth says that he has “no regrets” as he steps away from the booth following a 36-year career.
Howarth made the comment to CP24 on Wednesday morning, one day after announcing his retirement.
He said that he initially had hoped to return for a 37th season this spring but ultimately decided that health issues stemming from a 2016 surgery to remove a cancerous tumour from his prostate would make that difficult.
“What I tried to do was a little mock ‘hello friends’ and maybe an inning or two and I found out that I just kept hitting the wall,” he said. “I thought that would get better but when it didn’t I thought ‘Jerry, lets stop right now, you have had a wonderful career, let someone else do it.’ No regrets are two of my favourite words and I have none.”
Howarth called Toronto's back-to-back World Series victories in 1992 and 1993 alongside Hall of Fame broadcaster Tom Cheek and then took over lead broadcasting duties upon Cheek’s retirement in 2004.
Reflecting on his career, Howarth said that his favourite call was not even one that he was behind the microphone for.
Rather, it was Cheek’s famous “Timlin to Carter and the Blue Jays win it! The Blue Jays win it! The Blue Jays are World Series Champions” call, which actually came in an eleventh inning that Howarth was supposed to call as the second man in the booth.
“The Blue Jays were ahead three games to two and it went to the 11th inning,” he said. “Dave Winfield doubled home two and heading into the bottom of the inning I just knew the right thing to do was to come back on the air and say ‘Ladies and gentleman I have had the pleasure of calling Dave Winfield’s two-run double and here is my partner Tom Cheek to take you the rest of the way.’ In the bottom of the inning when Otis Nixon bunted for the out and the Blue Jays were World Series champions Tom made that call and I was so happy for him.”
Howarth called an estimated 7,500 games
Howarth retires having called an estimated 7,500 professional baseball games, according to Sportsnet.
Though two World Series wins stand out, Howarth said that he will “never forget” Jose Bautista’s iconic bat flip home run in the 2015 American Divisional series or the “loud and passionate” fans that descended on the Rogers Centre all through that playoff run, which was Toronto’s first in 22 years.
“People forget that seventh inning top to bottom took 53 minutes to play. That’s why at the very end when he hit that home run in a 3-3 tie with two men on base I just said five words ‘Yes sir, there she goes’ with emphasis and then I didn’t say a word for 40 seconds,” he said. “That’s what I have really loved about my radio career. It is not about me, it is the crowd. Filling in 40 seconds to celebrate that home run. I will never forget it.”
Looking ahead to the future, Howarth says that he will be releasing a book that he recently finished detailing stories from the booth and also plans to spend a lot of time with his wife, two sons and two grandsons.
It remains unclear who will replace Howarth in the booth for this season but the veteran broadcaster says that he does have one piece of advice for that person.
“Don’t have signature calls. If you end up with them as I did make it comfortable so that is you,” he said.