The Obit For Merle Harmon

Former Rangers broadcaster Merle Harmon dies

11:23 AM CDT on Thursday, April 16, 2009
By BARRY HORN / The Dallas Morning News

Merle Harmon, who brought energy and warmth to the Rangers' television booth for most of the 1980s, died Wednesday at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. He was 82.

Merle Harmon When Harmon retired after the 1989 season, his broadcasting resume also included baseball stops with the Kansas City A's, Milwaukee Braves, Minnesota Twins and Milwaukee Brewers. He also called network games of the week for ABC and NBC. His NFL work included radio play-by-play for the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets.

Harmon's calls of Jets games in an era when home games were not televised helped inspire at least one young listener from Brooklyn to get into broadcasting.

"I'd say he was a major influence," said Eric Nadel, the radio voice of the Rangers who joined the team's broadcast crew in 1979 and moved permanently into the radio booth in 1982, the year Harmon joined Steve Busby in the TV booth. Nadel was delighted to learn in their years working with the Rangers that one of his childhood idols was "an incredibly warm, gracious, giving person."

Before joining the Rangers and ultimately moving to Arlington, Harmon helped break a retired catcher into the Brewers' radio booth.

"Merle was a great friend and a wonderful partner in the booth, and the memories he leaves us with will be cherished forever," Bob Uecker said in a statement released by the Brewers.

The Rangers hired Harmon after he left the Brewers "to help sell the team on television," Nadel said. "He was a big-name, high-profile guy who appealed to everyone."

The Rangers observed a moment of silence in Harmon's memory before Wednesday night's game against the Orioles at the Ballpark. The team also announced plans to mount a plaque outside the home television booth later this season.

Funeral arrangements remain pending.