Howarth cited health issues affecting his voice in recent years as the reason behind his decision to step away from the game, effective immediately.
A familiar voice is moving on from the local sports community.
Sportsnet’s Jerry Howarth, who has spent the last 36 years as the radio broadcaster for the Toronto Blue Jays, announced his retirement on Tuesday.
Howarth, who was diagnosed with Stage 1 prostate cancer in September 2016 but recovered from surgery in time to call the 2017 season, cited health issues affecting his voice in recent years as the reason behind his decision to step away from the game, effective immediately.
The 71-year-old missed 21 games last year after a virus in late April led to laryngitis. While there were some online rumblings late in the campaign that Howarth might not be back for the 2018 season, Howarth told the Canadian Press in an email last September that he had no plans to retire, adding he was “in fact looking forward to a healthy and strong 37th year.”
Nearly six months later, Howarth was forced to change his tune.
“I had every intention of continuing my career into the 2018 season but my health and stamina and continuing voice issues dictated otherwise,” he said in a release.
“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 American-born announcer began his career with the Tacoma Twins of the Pacific Coast League in 1974. He joined the Blue Jays in 1981 and has called Toronto home ever since, becoming a Canadian citizen in the process.
“Jerry is an absolute legend in this industry,” said Sportsnet president Scott Moore in a 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.”
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Thanks Jerry for your memorable calls over these many years…Canada loves you!
Be well and Go Jay’s…