Dodgers Acquired Announcer Ernie Harwell for Catcher Cliff Dapper

Published on February 10th, 2024 1:49 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Announcer Ernie Harwell was one of the most famous voices of baseball. In 1948, one of the strangest trades in Major League Baseball history went down when the Brooklyn Dodgers traded for a play-by-play announcer, Ernie Harwell.

Back in those days, people didn't watch baseball games on TV - instead, they listened in on the radio.

The general manager and partial owner of the Dodgers, Branch Rickey, was flipping the dial one night when he landed on a broadcast from a AA team, the Atlanta Crackers.

Even though Rickey was based in New York, the powerful broadcast from the Crackers managed to reach Rickey's radio.

Rickey was impressed by the young play-by-play announcer, Ernie Halwell, and wanted him to call Dodgers' games. Also, the current announcer for the Dodgers at the time, Red Barber, was having health issues.


A deal was struck between the Dodgers and Atlanta Crackers - the Dodgers would receive Harwell, while the Crackers would receive catcher Cliff Dapper.

The Dodgers had gotten their man.


The Dodgers may have been surprised when Harwell stayed less than two seasons as the team's play-by-play man.

It turns out that other teams were impressed by his talents as well, as Harwell would sign a contract to call games for the New York Giants in 1950.

After moving to the Baltimore Orioles in 1954, Harwell would sign a deal with the Detroit Tigers in 1960. This is where Harwell would become a legend, as he called games for roughly 40 years with the team.

Branch Rickey clearly had a nose for talent, as Harwell would go on to become one of the Top 50 Sportscasters of All Time (American Sportscasters Association).

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