It began on a Friday night at Tiger Stadium. The date is documented: June 11, 1971.
That was the evening I first met Ernie Harwell.
I and some baseball-loving college buddies -- Rod Nichols, Pat Coppens, Jerry and Johnny Pecora, Jim Corlett --were sitting in lower-deck boxes behind the plate, taking in batting practice an hour or so before the Tigers and Minnesota Twins clashed.
A baseball announcer we had known from the time baseball became our lifelong companion and passion saw us sitting behind the screen and strolled by to say hello.