Image: Facebook/Toronto Blue Jays

Veteran Blue Jays broadcaster Jerry Howarth to retire

Howard announced his retirement after 36 years of calling Blue Jays games

Longtime Toronto Blue Jays radio broadcaster Jerry Howarth will not return to the booth in 2018.

Howard announced his retirement Tuesday after 36 years of calling Blue Jays games. The 71-year-old said he made the decision due to health issues that have affected his voice in recent years.

“I had every intention of continuing my career into the 2018 season but my health and stamina and continuing voice issues dictated otherwise,” said Howarth. “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?

“I am blessed and I am grateful. I thank everyone who has made this journey of mine so rewarding in every way.”

There was no immediate word on who Howarth’s successor would be.

Howarth, a native of York, Pa., who was raised in San Francisco, began his broadcast career in 1974 with the Tacoma Twins of the Pacific Coast League. He joined the Blue Jays in 1981 and has called Toronto home ever since, eventually becoming a Canadian citizen.

“Jerry is an absolute legend in this industry,” said Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet and NHL Properties. “He’s been a dedicated and consummate professional covering the Blue Jays for more than three decades.

“His longevity is exceptional and it speaks to, not only his talent as a broadcaster, but also his incredible passion for baseball. He is beloved by Blue Jays fans across the country and has left an indelible impression on us all.”

In 2012, Howarth was honoured by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame with the Jack Graney Award for lifetime contributions to baseball in Canada. He was also awarded the Sports Media Canada award for Achievement in Broadcasting both in 2003, with then broadcast partner Tom Cheek, and again individually in 2016.

“He’s been there for every home run, strike out, and flip of the bat that has mattered most to Blue Jays fans,” said Dave Cadeau national format director for sports at Rogers Radio. “He’s as knowledgeable a baseball mind as you can find, and an even better storyteller.

“It’s been a privilege to work with Jerry over the years.”

Howarth called Toronto’s back-to-back World Series victories in 1992 and 1993 with Tom Cheek, who died in 2005 from brain cancer. Howarth worked the Sportsnet 590 The Fan booth last season with Joe Siddall and Mike Wilner.

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.

A man of routine, he would provide consistent refrains while on the air.

“Hello friends, this is Jerry Howarth and we’re live from the Rogers Centre,” was the usual pre-game opening for those listening on the flagship station and around the country on The Fan Radio Network.

Howarth 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 were some online rumblings late in the campaign that Howarth might not be back for the 2018 season.

When asked about his future plans in late September, Howarth said in an email that he had no plans to retire, adding he was “in fact looking forward to a healthy and strong 37th year.”

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Oil tanker ban to be reviewed by committee

Indigenous groups for and against Bill C-48 travel to Ottawa to influence the Senate’s decision

Supportive housing project delayed until end of winter

Rainy conditions have stalled groundwork for the 52-unit development on Olson Avenue

Tyler Dozzi breaks national record, ‘running like a madman’

Terrace runner sets new time in Boston in his last U20 race

Sparse public response on Terrace’s first cannabis store

BC Cannabis is looking to set up shop at the Skeena Mall

Haisla yet to sign LNG benefits deals with the province

Other First Nations already receiving cash payments

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

BCHL’ers blanked by Russia at World Junior A Challenge

Canada West loses battle of the unbeaten teams in the preliminary round

French police try to catch attack suspect dead or alive

Local authorities increase death toll to three, including 13 wounded and five in serious condition

Second Canadian missing in China after questioning by authorities

Michael Spavor, founder of a non-profit that organizes cultural-exchange trips to North Korea, “is presently missing in China”

Cannabis gift ideas for this holiday season

Put the green in happy holidays, now that cannabis is legal in Canada

Warning issued as forecast calls for 20-foot waves in Tofino

Dangerous waves, strong currents and upper-shoreline flooding expected for Tofino-Ucluelet area

An 800-pound pig named Theodore needs a forever home, B.C. society says

‘Theodore is not destined to be somebody’s bacon’

Teenager Alphonso Davies wins Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award

Derek Cornelius and Chilliwack native, Jordyn Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

B.C. teen MMA fighter shows heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home Ws

Most Read