2008-02-14 / Front Page

Pete Van Wieren to speak at tomorrow's luncheon honoring Ernie Harwell

PETE VAN WIEREN Atlanta Braves announcer (Turner Sports photo) PETE VAN WIEREN Atlanta Braves announcer (Turner Sports photo) When legendary baseball announcer Ernie Harwell is honored here tomorrow, the keynote speaker at the event will be another legendary baseball announcer familiar to listeners in this part of the country.

Pete Van Wieren will begin his 33rd year broadcasting for the Atlanta Braves this spring but he will take time tomorrow, February 15, to celebrate "Ernie Harwell Day in Washington" with local baseball fans.

The event will be an opportunity for the people of Washington, Harwell's hometown, to honor him for a lifetime of achievement in broadcast journalism. Held in conjunction with his induction into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the event will also establish a local scholarship in Harwell's name and will provide for the "Ernie Harwell Most Valuable Player" award to be given to a Washington-Wilkes baseball player each year.

Friday's event at The Pope Center will begin at noon with a book sale and auction of baseball and other sports memorabilia. A special program honoring Harwell will follow during which Van Wieren will speak. Loran Smith, UGA announcer/ columnist/author, will serve as emcee for the program. Two special videos, one produced by Atlanta's 11Alive and Wes Sarginson, and one produced by Old South Marketing, will be featured during the program. Other awards and presentations will also be made.

The book sale will feature copies of Harwell's book, Breaking 90 and also his "Audio Scrapbook," a four- CD interview with dozens of clips and remembrances of Harwell's 60 years in baseball.

Auction items available include an authentic Detroit Tigers jersey autographed by Curtis Granderson, a baseball autographed by Chipper Jones, a copy of the UGA Football Vault autographed by Vince Dooley and Mark Richt and personalized by author Loran Smith, and many other personalized autographed items and photos.

Advance tickets to the event are available at the W-W Chamber of Commerce or at The News-Reporter office.Tickets will also be available at the door. For more information go to www.harwelldayinwashington. com.

The 2007 Major League Baseball season marked Van Wieren's 32nd as a play-by-play broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves, tying him with Skip Caray for seniority on the Braves announcing team. He is the voice of the Braves on all 162 games broadcast on WGST-AM (640), WUBL-FM (94.9) and the Braves Radio Net- work.

In 2006, Van Wieren won the Georgia Sportscaster of the Year Award from the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, marking the 10th time he won the honor (1980, 1988-95, 2006). He was dubbed Atlanta's Favorite Sportscaster in 1977 by the Atlanta Journal.

In 2004, he was inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame, along with fellow announcer Skip Caray. In 2000, Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell declared July 30th "Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren Day" in honor of their 25 years of broadcasting Braves games.

Since joining the Braves network in 1975, he has covered the Atlanta Flames of the National Hockey League, the Hawks and the Atlanta Falcons NFLpre-season football. He also served as a sports reporter for CNN and served as a play-by-play announcer on TBS's Big Ten Conference college football games.

Prior to joining Turner, he began his broadcasting career working as the play-by-play man for the Tidewater Tides of the International League for two years. He has also broadcast hockey, college and professional basketball and college and professional football. He also has been a sportscaster for WDHO-TV, Toledo, Ohio; WNBF-AM/FM/ TV and WINR-AM/TV, both in Binghamton, NY; WPRW-AM/FM, Manassas, Va.; and WEER-AM/FM, Warrenton, Va.

Van Wieren, who was born in Rochester, N.Y., attended Cornell University. He and his wife Elaine live in Alpharetta, Ga. They have two children, Steven and Jon.

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