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Jerry Howarth to retire prior to 2018 season

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The legendary Blue Jay radio broadcaster has been covering the Blue Jays for 36 years.

Oakland Athletics v Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays radio announcer Jerry Howarth interviews former player Ray Fosse before the Blue Jays MLB game against the Oakland Athletics on May 24, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Yes sir, there she goes.

Sportsnet announced on Tuesday morning that legendary Toronto Blue Jay broadcaster Jerry Howarth will retire prior to the 2018 season after 36 seasons of covering the team on radio.

Howarth, 71 years old, first joined the Blue Jay broadcast team in 1981 and full time in 1982. With Tom Cheek, Howarth split the play-by-play duties, and when Cheek was forced to retire part way through the 2005 season after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Howarth took over play-by-play duties.

“I had every intention of continuing my career into the 2018 season,” Howarth said in a Sportsnet press release, “but my health and stamina and continuing voice issues dictated otherwise.

“Who knew that I would spend more than half my life in Toronto with my wife, Mary, and our two sons, Ben and Joe, doing what I love to do most, reaching out to friends and fans alike across our great country to talk baseball? I am blessed and I am grateful. I thank everyone who has made this journey of mine so rewarding in every way.”

The Sportsnet release states that Howarth has had multiple health issues affecting his voice in recent years.

It also shares that Howarth has covered more than 7,500 baseball games, including almost every major facet of Blue Jay history — including two World Series championships in 1992 and 1993 and six AL East titles.

“Jerry is an absolute legend in this industry,” said Scott Moore, the president of Sportsnet, in the press release. “He’s been a dedicated and consummate professional covering the Blue Jays for more than three decades.

“His longevity is exceptional and it speaks to not only his talent as a broadcaster, but also his incredible passion for baseball. He is beloved by Blue Jays fans across the country and has left an indelible impression on us all.”

After the conclusion of the 2016 season, Sportsnet announced that Howarth had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He quickly underwent surgery, and returned to full health in time for the 2017 season.

Still, at the start of the season, Howarth missed considerable time with both laryngitis and conjunctivitis. He returned to the broadcast booth later in the season.

In 2012, Howarth earned the Jack Graney Award from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. He became a Canadian citizen in 1994 and lives in Toronto.

Howarth will forever hold a place in the hearts of all Blue Jay fans. His legendary calls, friendly character and always-giving personality won’t fade from the memories of fans for a very long time, if ever.

He made his support of minorities and those with disabilities clear throughout his career, refraining from using the name of the Cleveland and Atlanta baseballs team and participating in fundraising efforts for many charities, including the Special Olympics.

Howarth was, and is, there for so much more than baseball. He is kind, personable and always giving with his time and money.

Yes sir, there she goes.