×

If you knew Jimmie (like I knew Jimmie)

Longtime Detroit Tigers radio announcer Jim Price passed away recently. Anyone who listens to the ballgames may remember how he liked to start each broadcast by saying “It’s a beautiful day…” even when it was cold and rainy. You could just hear the excitement and optimism in his voice.

Price played for the Tigers from 1967-1971. He was part of the 1968 World Series Champions. But even he would joke that he was a much better broadcaster than player. Self-deprecating humor was one of his trademarks.

A lot of people who met Mr. Price have “Jimmie-stories.” I was lucky enough to have met him, and I’d like to share mine. Ironically enough, I did not meet him in Detroit. I met him at a minor league Mud Hens game in Toledo. I’m sure that he would say something about “spending a lot of time down there.”

Back then I was a youngster (8-10) in search of my first autograph. I had blown a chance a few weeks earlier when I was too scared to approach my hero Al Kaline during a Tigers game.

I was on a walkway above a players-only area of the stadium. That is when I spotted Jimmie on the ground below. The distance gave me the courage I needed to call out to him, and he quickly agreed to my request. That’s when the fun began.

I tossed him my ball (after making him promise to give it back), and a pencil that came with my scorecard. It’s all I had. He laughed, tried to find a pen, then signed it anyway. He threw the ball up to me, but I dropped it, three or four times!

Then I wanted my pencil back and things really got funny. Jimmie would throw it up, it would bounce around, and fall right back down. After about a dozen throws, we were both laughing so hard that we could barely talk.

I left the game that day with an autographed ball, my pencil, newfound courage, and a love for the game.

Thank you Jimmie. May you Rest in Peace.

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *
   

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today