Jerry Howarth Retires After 36 Seasons Calling Blue Jays Games

Jerry Howarth has announced that he's retiring as Blue Jays radio play-by-play broadcaster after 36 seasons. I have no personal memories of Jays games on the radio before Jerry, as I only started listening during the summer of '83. Jerry joined Tom Cheek in 1981.

I've written about my blue transistor radio. In the summers, I listened to 1430 CJCL which was carrying Blue Jays games called by Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth. I'd fall asleep to their voices, or Scott Ferguson's Out of Town Scoreboard. I'd often wake up to "The Music of Your Life" before heading on over to Tom Rivers on 680 CFTR.

Thank you Jerry for 36 great years. Saturday afternoon barbecues with the Jays game on the radio won't ever quite be the same. Coincidentally, with Keegan Matheson over for an episode of Toronto Mike'd, I played some old Jays songs featuring Tom and Jerry just yesterday. Here's one such classic. Enjoy.


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Comments (31 - click here to join in!)

Aidan

I went to Wrigley Field last summer when the Jays were playing and did a tour of Wrigley before it opened for the game. As you can imagine it was mostly Jays fans doing the tour. We were standing in the bleachers near the press box and Jerry Howarth walked by us and everybody began to clap. We also got out our phones to take pics but we only got the back of him. Everybody was wondering if we'd see anybody famous while on the tour and I'd say we were all pretty happy to see Jerry.

February 13, 2018 @ 10:01 AM

James Edgar

End of an era . Which is about as cliche as it gets i guess. even as a very casual listener Jerry is the voice of the Jays.

Going to be a little weird listening to jays games for a while going forward.

February 13, 2018 @ 10:02 AM

Philly-Bob

Much like our conversation a few weeks back about the kids of NHL players we grew up on making us feel old....this also makes me feel old. Jerry is the only voice of the jays I ever really knew and it will take some time to adjust to whoever replaces him (no on can replace Jerry!!)

February 13, 2018 @ 10:11 AM

Barry

Radio was how you followed baseball, back in the day. It was the only way to catch every game. And, to me, there is no sport that works as beautifully on the radio as baseball.

Every day of every summer, I listened to Tom and Jerry. It's tough to think of the Jays without either of them.

February 13, 2018 @ 10:35 AM

Cambo

"...and THERE HE GOES...."

February 13, 2018 @ 10:50 AM

Anonymous

Every year in late Februrary, I’d eagerly tune in to the first Blue Jays spring training radio broadcast just to hear Jerry Howarth’s voice. It signaled that baseball was back, warm weather was coming, and that I’d get to hear my favourite announcer again. It signaled that Jerry's warm and friendly voice was back to be a soundtrack to my summer. It became an annual tradition of sorts to listen to those magical words...words that signify the axiom hope springs eternal.

“Live from Dunedin, Florida, it’s time for Blue Jays baseball. Hello friends, this is Jerry Howarth..."

February 13, 2018 @ 11:34 AM

Justin

That above comment was from me, by the way.

This post over at BlueJaysNation has audio of some of Jerry's best calls, including Gruber's cycle, Bautista's bat flip, and Nolan Ryan's no-hitter. Give it a listen: https://bluejaysnation.com/2018/02/13/jerry-howarth-announces-his-retirement/

February 13, 2018 @ 11:36 AM

Urooj Islam

The only way this news could get any worse is if you-know-who is named his replacement.

February 13, 2018 @ 11:43 AM

Derrick

Voldemort???

February 13, 2018 @ 12:01 PM

Barry

Wilner is a solid play-by-play man. His play-by-play work is more focused on game-calling than his work on Jays Talk, where he gets into it with fans and can be way too smug. There's less room for that in the booth. He'll be fine if he gets the gig. And by rights, he should, since he's been groomed for the role for several years. Rogers would have to hit a special level of a-hole to pass him up for the job now.

February 13, 2018 @ 12:24 PM

Jimmy Nope

I don't know Barry. I am much more a fan of wilner on Jays talk than I am of him doing play by play. He's not awful, and I'd agree that he's earned his shot. But I'd still prefer them to look elsewhere. That said, perhaps it's in his best interest not to step in right now. Give fans a few years of merely OK replacement before hiring the guy to really take over for Jerry.

February 13, 2018 @ 2:56 PM

Jimmy Nope

What I meant was, whoever comes in now is going to suffer from constant comparison to Jerry.

February 13, 2018 @ 2:58 PM

m m

When I used to follow the Jays every day, I would even tune for the spring training live on 1430. Happy retirement Jerry!
But, hmm, this announcement, even if it's the off-season, is effective immediately. I hope it's not health related, and I hope Jerry gets to enjoy his retirement worry free.

February 13, 2018 @ 2:59 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@m m

Jerry says it's health related. Mainly his stamina.

February 13, 2018 @ 3:10 PM

Urooj Islam

Hopefully Don Landry can do an inning a game as Jerry Howarth.

"HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO YESIRRRRRRRRRRRR!"

February 13, 2018 @ 4:09 PM

Daniel

Health = Stamina and voicebox concerns... unfortunately

I'll definitely miss Jerry. he was the voice of my summer. Spending so much time in a vehicle for my summer job I had the Fan on all day and for my evening shift. So Tom and Jerry were my ride companions for so many summer afternoons and evenings in and outside of the GTA

February 14, 2018 @ 8:03 AM

Alan

I always enjoyed listening to Jerry call a ballgame. It was the next best thing to being there! I hope he enjoys a long and healthy retirement.

February 14, 2018 @ 1:20 PM

Philly-Bob

Jerry beat prostrate cancer last year (might have been colon). He said his voice has been getting worse and I'll bet Mrs. Howarth has decided it's time for him to step down and spend their golden years together. Surviving something like cancer tends to give one a new outlook on things.

Enjoy the golden years Jerry!!

February 14, 2018 @ 1:28 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Philly-Bob

It was prostate cancer.

February 14, 2018 @ 3:02 PM

Douglas

Jerry Howarth. I will miss him. I don't do anywhere near as much radio listening to games as I once did, but I grew up with Tom Cheek (listening to the very first game on my AM radio headphone set while I rode my bicycle in the falling snow, delivering the day's Toronto Star) and Jerry calling the games. Nowadays, often, even if I am not in the room at home, the game will be on the TV.

I am pretty sure he has his fingers in a lot of other pies, but I'll toss out another name, someone I like no matter what he is calling: Dan Shulman.

February 15, 2018 @ 1:53 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Douglas

IMHO, Shulman is the ideal replacement because there's really nobody better working today, but he might not want the gig.

Otherwise, my money's on Wilner. Although it is interesting that Elliott Price told me he applied for the job in the past.

February 15, 2018 @ 1:58 PM

Urooj Islam

Why would Dan Shulman take a radio play by play gig when he is probably the preeminent TV play by play baseball man in the world? Very weird suggestion. If he is homesick, he can just become the full-time play by play Jays TV guy for Sportsnet.

Also, I think they would have announced Wilner as the replacement if they intended to but they know they can do better both in terms of name value and track record/job experience. Wilner is the absolute last resort.

My suggestion would be someone like Alan Ashby, has worked here before, worked really well with Jerry a few years ago and seemed perfect as a potential replacement before he left for greener TV pastures a few years ago.

February 15, 2018 @ 3:06 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Urooj Islam

It's not that weird when you consider that Dan Shulman just quit his gig on Sunday Night Baseball to spend more time with his family at home in Toronto.

(And I did say he might not want the gig. I'm merely pointing out he's the ideal replacement.)

February 15, 2018 @ 3:09 PM

Urooj Islam

@Toronto Mike

That still doesn't explain why he would take the Jays radio play by play gig when he could just take over the full-time TV gig or even just the full-time play by play gig only for home games so he doesn't have to leave the city.

I don't see a full-time radio gig being an option for such an established television broadcaster.

February 15, 2018 @ 3:17 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Urooj Islam

I have no clue what Rogers will do.

The fact is, Shulman is in the city and calls a great ball game. He could factor in the mix - either on TV or radio. They may not mess with the current TV duo. They do suddenly have an opening on the radio side.

It's quite possible Shulman doesn't want to slum it, but it is also possible Rogers spends some coin here and Shulman gets to do what he does best for 81 games in Toronto.

February 15, 2018 @ 3:20 PM

Anon And On

Shulman and Buck on t.v. They have good chemistry. Get rid of Tabler!!! Tabler and Buck fixate on every pitch, whereas Dan "talks" baseball the same way Jerry did. I always had radio on and tv muted, even with the time delay, except when Dan was on. Wilner...........meh. Joe a good sidekick, but please, please, please, I do not want any part of Kevin Barker (Mr. Mae) on either medium. I cringe listening / watching him. I have no idea how Blair put up with him. Obviously Hazel made him part of her deal in returning to Sportsnet. I do like Hazel............hey, who doesn't? :)

February 15, 2018 @ 5:38 PM

Marlon

I think Shulman would be great but isnt there way more money to be made on TV than radio? If he will take a radio gig (although its simulcast), wouldnt he be the ultimate replacement for Bobcat when his 3 year deal is up? Bob did say its his last deal. Although I think he has said that in the past.

More Shulman anywhere on Sportsnet would be great now that he gave up his ESPN baseball gig.

February 15, 2018 @ 8:32 PM

Gary M

I had one professional interaction with Jerry Howarth. He was without question the most thoughtful human I have ever had one interaction with. Just unbelievably, going-out-of-your-way kind.

February 15, 2018 @ 10:10 PM

Douglas

Like Mike pointed out, I point was that Dan Shulman would be a good choice replacement. I'd rather have him Sportsnet, though, because I see more games on TV than I hear on the radio.

I'm not a great Pat "Uh Huh" Tabler fan.
Buck: makes a statement
Tabler: "Uh huh..."
After a friend pointed that out to me, I really notice it on broadcasts.

February 16, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

stephen in niagara

another name for the list to replace Jerry, Elliott Price.
Price called Expos games.
I like Shulman to.

I will not listen to Wilner. As it is, when he was part of the broadcast, I changed stations,

February 16, 2018 @ 3:56 PM

Gary M

Douglas, I had the exact same view of Tabler. Frequently he just repeats what Buck said.

Here's when my view changed. When Buck was away and Matt Devlin filled in. Pat was sharp and insightful from start to finish.

What I realized is that Buck is his own analyst. When Buck stops talking, there's very little left for a sidekick to say. There's a case to be made that Buck should work alone like Vin Scully did. Until then, Tabler or anyone else in that slot is in a no-win position.

February 16, 2018 @ 7:33 PM

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