As his broadcast career was winding down, Ken Harrelson decided to move his stories to a different medium, looking back at his life and career in Hawk: I Did It My Way. He chronicles his life, from being born in South Carolina and raised in Savannah, Georgia, to the minor leagues, the big leagues, the PGA tour, and, eventually, the broadcast booth. Harrelson has crossed paths with everybody who was anybody, from his former A’s boss Charlie O. Finley to Arnold Palmer to Frank Sinatra to, as you may not have known, Carl Yastrzemski.
While Harrelson’s exploits during his playing days and his attempt to make it as a professional golfer offer interesting stories, its his time as a broadcaster that was most appealing to this White Sox fan. Originally hired in 1982, along with Don Drysdale, to replace fan favorite Harry Caray, Harrelson spent 32 years broadcasting for the White Sox, with a break after his ill-fated tenure as the team’s general manager in 1986.
If anything, I would have liked to hear more about that season. Harrelson did go over some of the moves that he made, including firing Tony LaRussa and trading Rule 5 draft pick (and future star) Bobby Bonilla back to the Pirates, but there were other controversies that went untouched, like moving Carlton Fisk to left field. In fact, given how often the two must have crossed paths between Boston and Chicago, there is only one mention of Fisk at all, a throwaway tale from spring training in the late 60s where Hawk and Yaz quipped that he’d never make the big leagues.
This is a must read for any White Sox fan, regardless of your thoughts on Harrelson. He was the voice of the team for a generation and his stories offer a unique insight in to one of the most successful eras in White Sox history.