For nineteen seasons (1973 through 1991) Detroit Tigers fans were spoiled with a wonderful radio broadcast team that consisted of legendary announcer Ernie Harwell (“The Voice of Summer”) and Paul Carey (“The Voice of God.”)
It’s hard to believe that the dynamic duo did their last broadcast together twenty years ago this coming September.
Although Paul Carey appeared to be in Ernie’s large shadow, he was an integral part of the broadcasts by providing outstanding play-by-play with his robust voice in the middle three innings and the scoreboard show following the game.
Many don’t realize it but Carey also served as the engineer and producer of the broadcasts.
You would think the Tigers and WJR could have afforded to hire someone to set up the equipment and transport it but their penny pinching ways had Carey also serving as a “roadie.” Carey set up the mikes, and mixing board, broke them down in the wee hours, and lugged them himself through airports across the country.
The Korean War veteran was a mainstay at WJR for years where he started working in 1956 as a staff announcer following work at WKNX in Saginaw and WCEN in Mount Pleasant where he was part of the very first Central Michigan University football broadcast.
Carey not only broadcast U of M football and Pistons basketball on WJR, but for 35 years high school sports fans were thrilled to hear Carey’s deep voice tell the football and basketball scores on his Michigan High School scoreboard program broadcast after the midnight newscast.
Although the 1984 baseball season was a thrill for Tigers fans as Detroit tore up the American League on their way to capturing a world championship, listeners had no idea that Carey, the consummate professional, was struggling as his wife Patti was battling the cancer that took her life that winter.
On the same day that Ernie Harwell announced that the Tigers had fired him, Carey disclosed that the 1991 season would be his last. The two were honored on the field in ceremonies before a packed house at Tiger Stadium.
Carey was named the Michigan Sportscaster of the Year six times and in 1992 he was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. Now 82, Carey still lives in the Detroit area with his wife Nancy.
This past February the former Tiger broadcaster suffered a heart attack but thankfully he is now doing fine. Carey recently attended the memorial service for former Tiger Jim Northrup and the pregame ceremonies at Sparky Anderson Day.
Looking back, it sure makes you realize how spoiled we all were with that great Harwell-Carey broadcast team.