(CBS) White Sox television play-by-play man Ken “Hawk” Harrelson will return for a reduced workload in 2018 and then retire from broadcasting, the team announced Wednesday.
In 2018, Harrelson, 75, will work a 20-game schedule, primarily focusing on Sunday home games. Jason Benetti — who currently calls home games while Harrelson handles road contests — will handle the rest of the broadcast load and has also signed a multi-year deal to continue as the team’s play-by-play voice. Starting in 2019, Benetti will handle television play-by-play duties exclusively for the White Sox.
2018 will mark Harrelson’s 34th season in the booth. He’s a five-time Emmy Award winner, three-time Ford Frick Award nominee and two-time Illinois Sportscaster of the Year.
He’ll then serve as an organizational ambassador in 2019.
“Hawk has left a lasting imprint on the game of baseball across what will be an amazing career in the game,” White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. “His passion for the White Sox – and for the game of baseball – is apparent in every telecast he does. There have been only a handful of broadcasters who literally have re-written the dictionary of baseball terminology and nicknames. He became the famous voice of White Sox baseball, coining well-known phrases like ‘you can put it on the board’ and colorful nicknames like ‘The Big Hurt’ that will be part of baseball culture forever. There will never be another personality in the booth quite like Hawk Harrelson.”
He played nine seasons in the big leagues before beginning his broadcasting career with the Red Sox in 1975. He started on White Sox broadcasts in 1982 and served as the team’s general manager in 1986. He went back to broadcast work with the Yankees in 1987 and 1988 before returning to the White Sox broadcast booth in 1990.
Harrelson expressed his appreciation to everyone.
“It has been an amazing honor for me to deliver White Sox baseball to generations of fans,” Harrelson said in a statement. “I cannot thank the fans of Chicago, the White Sox and Jerry Reinsdorf enough for allowing me this fantastic career and for agreeing to my role for the 2018 season and beyond. I am proud to have been involved in this great game of baseball as a player, general manager and broadcaster, and I have always wanted to reach the eight-decade mark in this game, which I hope to do in 2019 as an ambassador for the White Sox. It’s never work when you come to a ballpark each day, and I have loved and appreciated every minute I have experienced in this great game.”