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

Snowbirds fly over Tofino and Ucluelet

“We had front row seats.”

West Coast fishers see empty seas, demand Pacific Salmon Treaty funding

“Right now, if this continues, I think most fishermen will be bankrupt in a couple of years.”

Ucluelet mayor says pipeline and spill response plan both needed

“We are a society that cannot exist without oil and gas and plastics at this point in time.”

Tofino and Ucluelet host youth soccer tournament

Teams from Port Alberni and Nanaimo travel in for one-day sporting event.

Shania Twain visits Canadian Armed Forces base in B.C.

Canadian country icon thanks members of CFB Esquimalt for their service

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Countdown is on to the 2018 B.C. Summer Games

Cowichan Valley hosts on July 19-22

Driving Change: A B.C. man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

B.C. communities await marine spill compensation years after incidents

The government maintains a Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund to compensate Canadians

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Most Read