Longtime Blue Jays play-by-play announcer Jerry Howarth will be at TheMuseum in Kitchener, Ont., on April 9 for a talk and signing of his new book, Hello, Friends! Stories From My Life and Blue Jays Baseball.
In an interview with Spoke, Howarth said he was asked to write a book five years ago and he declined that offer. A year later, he was asked to be a part of a book with a ghostwriter, but he declined that as well.
“Buck Martinez, our television broadcaster and a great friend of mine, kind of motivated me,” Howarth said. “Write a book, Jerry, about your career, where you grew up —talk about all the stories.” Buck steered me in the right direction to go and talk to a publisher.
As one who spent 36 years as a Blue Jays announcer, Howarth has a lot of stories to tell. His career includes two World Series titles, back in 1992 and 1993, and two outstanding playoff series in 2015 and 2016. After Howarth spoke to a publisher, he wrote 50,000 words at the end of the 2015 season and then an additional 60,000 after the 2016 season.
“At the end of the 2017, I retired and edited it down to 102,000 words and I took it to ECW Press. They read it on Friday and they called me on Monday and said, “Come on in and sign the contract — this is great.”
Howarth said ECW Press has been like family to him.
“I was motivated just to share my career and my stories with so many friends across Canada and I’m really glad that I did. I tell people that this is my one and done book. And it is. And I’m really proud of it,” said Howarth.
The sportcaster talked about his excitement about the upcoming book signing in Kitchener.
“I’ve never been to TheMuseum and David Marskell has been really a good friend and I’m looking forward to coming over there and meeting everybody and talking some baseball,” said Howarth. “Of course, the book too is out and I hope people enjoy reading it and I think that they will.”
He went onto to talk about some highlights in his book.
The first 20,000 words are about Howarth’s life, from childhood through high school and then his attendance at Santa Clara University and what going to a Jesuit university meant to him. The book also goes into Howarth’s experiences in the U.S Army as he was a first lieutenant based in Frankfurt, Germany.
“I talked about being in law school and leaving to pursue something in sports and then raising money for my alma mater at the University of Santa Clara in the athletic department. That was their first fundraiser in 1971 and 1972,” said Howarth.
In 1973 Howarth moved to Tacoma, Wash., where he worked at Puget Sound University. He talked about raising money for their athletic department. He also taped and broadcast games.
“It worked out very well to get that start that brought me all the way to Toronto and here I am for 37 years. I’ve lived more years here in Canada than the United States,” said Howarth.
Howarth discussed covering the 1992 and 1993 World Series games.
“Ninety-two and ’93 were wonderful years. My partner, Tom Cheek, and I certainly enjoyed them in the radio booth sharing all that across Canada,” said Howarth. “Joe Carter walked it off Oct. 23, 1993 — only the second World Series walkoff. I was down near the dugout ,ready to do the post-game show. I thought I would be doing it with a [Philadelphia] Phillie, then all of the sudden Joe wins it.”
Howarth went on to talk about the post-game celebrations.
“A great celebration at home plate and just the glow of the crowd for the next 48 hours, celebrating down on Yonge Street — it was just a marvellous time for Blue Jays baseball,” said Howarth.
His greatest career moment?
“In the 1992 World Series Game 6 in Atlanta, the Blue Jays are ahead three games to two. The game went extra innings. Top of the inning, in the 11th, Winfield doubles home two for a 4-2 lead,” said Howarth. “Tom called that final out — Timlin to Carter — and the Blue Jays win a first World Series and first in Canada. It was just so special.”
“I remember on Father’ Day 2010, John McDonald had just come back after his father passed away. On his first at-bat, he hit a home run down to left field in the bottom of the 9th inning. It took him around the bases. I was just teary eyed, “said Howarth. “We found out later that his father’s last words to him were, ‘John can you hit a home run for me?’ And he did.”
At Tuesday’s talk, Howarth will be sharing the many amazing stories from his lengthy career as a sportscaster. He will be interviewed by local broadcaster Mike Farwell. Tickets can be purchased here.
Howarth already knows Farwell.
“Well, we met over the phone. He’s already interviewed me once. I was on his radio show and he did a very nice job interviewing me about coming over and talking about the book,” said Howarth. “So with him as the host, I’ll just follow his lead and his lead was very good as an interviewer. I always look at that too. He was very short and sweet with his questions.”
When Howarth was asked what he enjoyed most about his career, the answer was short and sweet too.