Ernie Johnson Jr. emotional, grateful, proud following death of his father

As smooth and flawless a delivery as Ernie Johnson Jr. both inherited and learned from his legendary Braves broadcaster father Ernie Johnson Sr., there is after all, something that can trip him up.

The morning after his father Ernie Johnson Sr. died at 87 after an extended battle with congestive heart failure, Ernie Jr. stumbled on one of his father’s favorite sign-offs.

Ernie Jr. used it last year while broadcasting Braves games on Peachtree TV with Joe Simpson and John Smoltz after Braves wins, in tribute to his dad. When he said it again Saturday morning, filled with emotion over the loss of his father, it took on new meaning.

“I would say ‘So for Joe and John, this is Ernie Johnson and on this winning night, so long everybody,” Johnson Jr. said.

Johnson was just finishing up a broadcast at the PGA Championship when he learned his father had died Friday night a little after 8 p.m. while in hospice care in Cumming, Ga.

His father had been in hospice for five days, and Johnson, his sisters Dawn and Chris, and their extended family had had their own moments with him to find a way to say goodbye. Johnson said he’d been to see his father every day, including Friday morning on the way to the golf course.

“Every time, you’d sit with him and tell him how much you love him and squeeze his hand and rub his head and just let him know that we were there,” Johnson said.

After spending time with his family Friday night, Johnson said he and his wife Cheryl stayed up late reading passages posted by Braves fans online, and marveling at the outpouring of love for his father. Many consider Johnson Sr. the original voice of the Braves, even if he shirked that kind of adulation.

“I know how great a guy he was from living with him for 55 years, but it’s so cool to read,” Johnson said. “Some of those things just hit you so strongly. It was stories about having dad sign something for an 8-year-old kid or just sneaking transistor radios into your shirt to listen to Braves games….

“And I read one (Saturday morning) that just was just so simple and just buckled my knees. It said ‘When you heard Ernie Johnson do a game, it was like…”

Johnson paused as he was overcome with emotion.

“…summertime would never end.”

Johnson Sr. used to like to say games were zipping right along, and in the end, his son said, that’s what it feels like. It all went so fast.

“Life is a blink,” he said. “It really is. It zips right past you…We treasure having him for 87 years or as old as we are. He had a great life. He impacted a lot of people and just taught us all a lot – not by preaching but just by watching him on a daily basis. Going to the ballpark with him, watching how he interacted with players, watching how he interacted with fans, how he took time for everybody.”

Ernie Jr. was just a toddler when his father pitched in the World Series in 1957. He got to hang out by the batting cage as a young boy, when the likes of Hank Aaron would ask how his Little League team was doing.

He hoped to follow in his father’s footsteps as a professional player. That didn’t exactly pan out after Ernie Jr. walked on the team at the University of Georgia and was cut the following year.

“My dad would always say, ‘Well Ernie only had one problem with the game of baseball and that was the pitched ball,’” Johnson said, laughing. “I couldn’t hit a lick.”

Following in his father’s steps as a broadcaster became his professional calling and one he pursued whole-heartedly, he said, with encouragement from his father at every step.

“Even when I knew I was terrible on the air,” he said. “I’m working on the radio in Athens, Ga. or I’m starting out in TV in Macon and there was nothing but encouragement. It was ‘Hey, you’re doing good.’ You know, you might talk a little fast at times, maybe you want to slow down your pace a little bit. Then he’d say, ‘You have time to shave today? You look like you had a little stubble on the air.’”

Johnson said he got his work ethic from his father, showing up long before he needed to at the ballpark, trying to treat people with respect.

“Everything I got, everything I learned was from watching him,” Johnson said. “How you get ready for a game, how you treat people. How to be a dad and a husband.”

Johnson said every Braves baseball game he has called, or games he does now on TBS, beside his scorebook he keeps a plastic-encased baseball card of his father’s from his days as a pitcher in the 1950s with the Milwaukee Braves. And to honor his father, sometimes he can’t help it. He’ll say into the microphone that the game is zipping along.

“I will get in my ear from everybody in the truck ‘Oh, I can’t believe you went there,’” he said, laughing.

But Johnson said he never felt pressure to live up to his dad professionally, probably in large part because his dad was the one who constantly told him to “be yourself.”

For a son named after the man he admired as a father, a broadcaster, and a gentleman, he never minded just being Ernie Jr.

“I’d introduce him and some people call him Ernie Sr.,” Johnson said. “I just say: ‘This is classic Ernie and I’m just Ernie.’”

Johnson said no matter what happens in his broadcasting career, the highlight will always be the time he spent broadcasting Braves games with his father on Wednesday nights on SportSouth in the 1990s. And his dad has long known that.

“There was never any question in my family that he loved us dearly and was proud of us and I’m proud of him too, believe me,” Johnson said. “I will never measure up to that standard, but I’m glad it’s out there to shoot for.”

Johnson will speak at a service for his father, which is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church in Sandy Springs. Specific details will be forthcoming. Johnson said the service will be open to the public, just as his father would have wanted.

148 comments Add your comment

Greg Batten

August 13th, 2011
2:33 pm

He was a calming influence on my young life. I loved his voice as much as I loved summer time in Florida. God Bless his family

Patrick Warren

August 13th, 2011
2:34 pm

Ernie Johnson is one of the reasons Braves broadcasting has been so very good for as long as I have been listening. He set a standard, truly, that everyone who followed must have aspired to. My condolences to all of Mr. Johnson’s family.

BT

August 13th, 2011
2:37 pm

Thanks DOB and “just” Ernie for sharing some great thoughts on a wonderful man.

Sophee

August 13th, 2011
2:38 pm

Lovely piece, Carroll. We’ll miss you Ernie, you were one of the best.

luvthosedawgs68

August 13th, 2011
2:38 pm

I send my sincere condolences to Ernie, Jr. and the entire Johnson family. Ernie Jr., I’ve always enjoyed listening to you on Braves broadcasts, and on TNT!

Coach D

August 13th, 2011
2:38 pm

Wow! What a tribute to a unmistakably great man. I’m sure St. Jude’s will be packed to overflowing.

Weaseal

August 13th, 2011
2:39 pm

Thanks for the memories may we all have such a blessed life!!

Jeff

August 13th, 2011
2:39 pm

Rest in Peace Ernie. Thanks for all the memories. Our thoughts and prayers our with the Johnson family.

"Chef" Tim Dix

August 13th, 2011
2:40 pm

EJJ’s dad did great work in this world. The proof is in his children.

janell whaley

August 13th, 2011
2:42 pm

Ernie Johnson is and was the greatest !!! I loved it when he, Skip,and Pete were on. I very much love to here Ernie, Jr also. When iI get a chance to see or hear Jr on the tv, I will just sit and listen because he is his father’s son. So sorry for you lost and we will all miss his good humor. God speed to you and all of your family. We love you.

moosedog

August 13th, 2011
2:43 pm

as i did with the passing of skip carey, i also shed some tears. great announcer, great guy. johnson family should be very proud. my thoughts and prayers are with you all. God bless.

Nate

August 13th, 2011
2:43 pm

I remember growing up, my dad used to take me to the Braves game almost everyday. That was pretty much my summer. And he’d always carry this radio with him to listen to the game with Ernie Johnson. Mr. Johnson like raised me with the Braves. Even when the Braves weren’t good, Mr. Johnson kept you relaxed while I ate peanuts and sometimes run around the stadium as a kid. His voice was every where in the stadium. It was like listening to a talk show with all the stories lines and every now and then he’d call a play to let you know there was still a ballgame going on. And I will never forget his marquee call whenever someone hit a homerun, “Swung on, theirs a line drive, deep left-center field, THAT BALL IS….OUTTA HERE”. Well, isn’t it ironic that Mr. Johnson now is “Outta Here.” We’ll miss you Mr. Ernie Johnson.

Concha

August 13th, 2011
2:44 pm

I have followed the Braves since the late 60’s and always said Ernie was like family. He made every broadcast worth listening to. The Braves always have had the best announcers in sports and he was the undisputed leader. Skip, Pete, Don, Joe, Chip,Larry and now Jim. Even our post and pre game guys seemed to take Ernie’s approach of comfort in your presence. I miss the old fishing net. The Johnson family should feel comfort in knowing we are all praying for peace for you. It’s time to go get ‘em Braves!

Bravo_fan 52

August 13th, 2011
2:47 pm

Great insight Carol ,and Ernie JR sharing his father with us all for so many years ,what a great man he was

Jimbo Jones

August 13th, 2011
2:48 pm

That was a lovely article Carroll.

Ernie Johnson Jr. is a chip off the old block.

What a crazy juxtaposition with the timing of Ernie Sr.’s passing and Bobby’s induction. Ernie will be missed for sure.

Rasslin 2

August 13th, 2011
2:51 pm

Great memories of listening to Mr. Johnson and Milo Hamilton call games on the radio in the pre-cable TV days.

Flyer John

August 13th, 2011
2:52 pm

When I was a kid, my family and I always visited extended family in Wisconsin during the summer. During the long drive back, we knew were getting closer to home when we heard Ernie’s voice calling the Braves game on the car radio. It was like he put out the welcome mat and led us back to Atlanta. That voice was smooth and reassuring; you could tell that he was a wonderful man. That can’t faked. I’ll remember that voice for as long as I live. I lost my Dad (a Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves fan) last year, so I know the pain that Ernie’s family is going through. God bless Ernie and his family.

OldTimer

August 13th, 2011
2:52 pm

God bless Ernie.

Flyer John

August 13th, 2011
2:53 pm

When I was a kid, my family and I always visited extended family in Wisconsin during the summer. During the long drive back, we knew were getting closer to home when we heard Ernie’s voice calling the Braves game on the car radio. It was like he put out the welcome mat and led us back to Atlanta. That voice was smooth and reassuring; you could tell that he was a wonderful man. That can’t be faked. I’ll remember that voice for as long as I live. I lost my Dad (a Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves fan) last year, so I know the pain that Ernie’s family is going through. God bless Ernie and his family.

Mel

August 13th, 2011
2:53 pm

Class act all the way.

Earl

August 13th, 2011
2:55 pm

As a young teenager in 1969, I can still recall the voices of Ernie Johnson and Milo Hamilton calling the games on radio. From Ernie’s “this game is zipping right along” to Milo’s “bombs away in Atlant G A”, I have been a diehard fan since that time. To the Johnson Family, my prayers are with you all. And, to the many games that I listened to, Ernie made it a “winning day” for me.

wallypip

August 13th, 2011
2:57 pm

Always marvelled at Ernie Sr.’s sunshiny demanor. One game during a season when the Braves were dreadful, they were putting up a rare fight in against a better team, and Ernie Sr. was clearly enthused, and said, “Don’t you love watching a close ballgame? I sure do.” It was a backhanded commentary on the team’s futility, but it was stated in such a sweet and positive way. He was genuinely happy. For some reason, I’ve never forgotten that. Godspeed to him and his family.

Puma

August 13th, 2011
2:59 pm

Hearing Ernie Sr. for me was like one of those visceral flashbacks you get when you taste a pie that reminds you of your mom’s cooking, or a smell that takes you back to your childhood home. Hearing his voice brought me back to times I don’t even remember, times when I was just a kid, with no worries and still awed by the magic of baseball. Its nice to get those feelings every now and again, to remind you of the times you weren’t so worried all the time.

wayne

August 13th, 2011
3:04 pm

IF YOU WERE UNABLE TO WATCH THE BRAVES ON TV. AND YOU WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO LISTEN TO THE BRAVE GAME ON THE RAIDO WILE YOU WERE DRIVING AROUND TOWN OR LISTING TO THE GAME WILE YOU JUST SIYING ON YOUR PORCH DRINKING A COLD BOTTLE OF COCA COLA . YOU WHERE LUCKY ENOUGHT TO LISSEN TO ERNIE CALL THE GAME AS IF YOU WHERE AT TURNER FIELD IN HIS UNIQIE WAY . THE BEST OF THE BEST .

collegeballfan

August 13th, 2011
3:09 pm

Wonderful piece of writing Carroll.

My best to the Johnson family.

SC Ace

August 13th, 2011
3:12 pm

Ernie Jr. is a good dude.

In Respect

August 13th, 2011
3:15 pm

Enter your comments here

William

August 13th, 2011
3:16 pm

I used to listen to Ernie Johnson broadcast games in the early 1970s. The Braves had awful pitching and awful records, but I only remember the neverending optimism of Ernie Johnson. He brought each broadcast to life and managed to make a loss feel like a win.

rico carty

August 13th, 2011
3:16 pm

Wow. What a man. What a family. I was 7 years old in 1970 when I fell in love with the Braves. We were so lucky in those days to rely more on radio than TV for broadcasts. You really developed a sort of friendship with the broadcasters on those hot summer nights listening to Braves games. I liked Milo but loved Ernie. He was like a kindly grandfather. You just remember the tales…Ernie saving the cat in the storm drain I think in St. Louis, Ernie doing the chicken. Just always so upbeat, so happy, so classy.

I teared up when I saw a previous blogger say last night “On this winning night, so long Ernie”. Ernie Johnson, Mr. Brave, God Bless You.

kevin

August 13th, 2011
3:21 pm

My deepest regrets to the Johnson family for the passing of thier beloved Ernie Sr. We all grew up listening to his great insight and humor while the Bravos were not all that good at times. My favorite saying of his was ” and there goes a can of corn to left”

Darrel Chaney

August 13th, 2011
3:22 pm

I was honored to have worked with him for 2 years. Great man and great for baseball. Rest in peace Ernie. May the peace and love only God can give at times like this, be with E.J. Jr., his sisters and Lois.

Brad

August 13th, 2011
3:22 pm

Ernie Sr. was a big part of my childhood. Ernie, Skip, and Pete were a part of the team to me. I met Ernie Sr. in 1992 and he gave me a signature. It is framed and hanging in the man cave right now!

The A Bomb

August 13th, 2011
3:24 pm

Ernie — Along with Milo the 2 men most responsible for getting me into trouble with my folks for burning out so many batteries on my transistor radio that I fell asleep with under my pillow.

Thanks Ernie.

In Respect

August 13th, 2011
3:25 pm

Sorry for the blank post. What a wonderful remembrance of Ernie. Ernie meant so much to my family listening over the years. I’m almost 60 and my mother was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis the last years of her life. She passed almost 30 ylears ago and she would lie in bed at night and listen to Ernie and her beloved Braves. Ernie brought her to the games that she was unable to see. She would listen late into the night on west coast trips and tell me all about it on my daily visits to her home. To Ernie Jr. I would like to say. Thank you for sharing your father with my family and may you find comfort in this time of loss. Bless u and your family.

bravesfanforever

August 13th, 2011
3:25 pm

Ernie may not have been the best but I loved him as a broadcaster probably more than anyone else. May you rest in peace.

bali

August 13th, 2011
3:27 pm

sure is a sad day….Ernie was the best..another reminder of how fast time goes by. what a shame younger generations will not get to hear baseball called the right way…what a tresure

jerry

August 13th, 2011
3:33 pm

Ernie was a member of the last Braves team (1957) to beat the Yankees in the WS. He pitched 7 innings, gave up 2 hits, 1 run, and struck out 8. ‘57 Braves, my heroes.

Brett Friedlander

August 13th, 2011
3:33 pm

Thank you Ernie! You and Skip provided the soundtrack to my childhood. I will never forget you! RIP

Mixxo

August 13th, 2011
3:37 pm

So many of my personal reflections and recollections of Ernie Sr. have already been mentioned here in a way I could not better describe. What a wonderful human being he was.

Rest in peace Sir. You will be missed.

Spud

August 13th, 2011
3:39 pm

My first exposure to broadcast ball on a regular basis was Ernie & Milo on radio back when Aaron was going for 714. I was in elementary school then. I remember my first time at a Braves game and seeing Ernie up in the booth. That was just too cool! Saw him catch a few balls with the net over the years. A few seconds later Ernie would drop the ball down to a lucky fan.
I admire folks that achieve some measure of success or notoriety simply by pursuing their passion. Mr. Johnson earned his in such a dignified and eloquent way. A voice of youthful summers, and later a little piece of home while in the Navy in Sicily tuned in to Armed Forces Radio.
Heavy hearts are all across Braves country this weekend. Thoughts and prayers to the Johnson family.

George Holman

August 13th, 2011
3:39 pm

Enter your comments here

Ernie kept the Braves interesting when they were not relevant. Ernie and Skip were the best without question!

kudzu

August 13th, 2011
3:47 pm

EJ, “i’ll see you at home plate”…

Let's Go

August 13th, 2011
3:49 pm

Growing up in SC before TBS, Ernie and Milo were the Braves to kids who listened on the radio every night. Even during those bad years in the 70’s & 80’s Ernie called every game like the Braves were one hit away from winning the pennant. A true professional.

Ernie Jr, our thoughts and prayers and with you and your family.

Victor Pavamani

August 13th, 2011
3:53 pm

No one told baseball tales and trivia like Ernie did. Have fun in Baseball Heaven, Ernie.

Kevin Thurman

August 13th, 2011
3:56 pm

So many kind comments for a great man and broadcaster…Ernie and family sincere condolences on the loss of your father and husband…so many nights I would lie awake in the summer and listen to Ernie & Milo when the Braves first came to Atlanta and they would transport me to the field with their skills, but I always loved how kind and gentle Ernie was even when the Braves were truly a bad team.

In many ways men of this era, including my own father, shaped who I am today and when they start to pass on the death of each one stings a little. This one stings a lot more than most however…RIP Ernie I look forward to hearing you call games one day when we all meet again.

Warhead

August 13th, 2011
3:57 pm

EJ Sr. is part of the soundtrack of my youth. God bless you and your family EJ Jr.

John C. Foster

August 13th, 2011
4:07 pm

I truly respect and like Ernie Johnson, not only as a broadcaster but for his kindness. When I was a very young Rotarian, I needed a program, and I called Erine. He kindly accepted and was very warmly recieved.
A couple of years later, I had another need for a speaker and called Milo. He turned me down. So, I called Ernie. When I asked him, his response was, I was up there a couple of years ago. He suggested I call Milo. Without thinking, I said, I have already asked him.
Ernie’s reply was,Oh, I’m your second choice. Needless to say, I felt awful. Well, Ernie laughed and kidded me a little and agreed to come.
I will always cherish those opportunities to have been with him. He is a great man.

wjones

August 13th, 2011
4:08 pm

That was so very cool to see Darrell Chaney’s post above. Very classy.

I was lucky enough, several years ago, to attend the game where they held Ernie’s “Retirement Party”. I went with my late first wife and her late sister, both struck down in their 40’s. We would all joke in later years, when Ernie would appear on Sportsouth, “didnt’ we go to his retirement party?” The coolest part of that night, which was ironically also a game against the Cubs, was the 7th inning stretch. Harry Caray’s booming voice came out of the visiting broadcaster’s booth, with “Hello Everybody”, and he went on to say that he normally didn’t sing on the road, but he wanted to do this for his old pal Ernie, so he led BRAVES fans in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. What a night. To be honest, I don’t recall whether we won the game or not.

To add to the irony, when cancer took my sister-in-law 3 years later, my late wife wrote to Bobby Cox about how she loved the Braves so much and was so happy when they went from worst to first, etc. Bobby wrote back, and sent her an autographed photo.

RIP, Ernie. My sympathies to EJ and all the family.

Lisa Edmond

August 13th, 2011
4:10 pm

I am so saddened to hear of Mr. Johnson’s passing. I grew up watching and listening to him on radio and tv. I spent some of the happiest times of my life with Mr. Johnson’s voice as the soundtrack to the baseball season. Godspeed Mr. Johnson Sr. and God bless you and your family.

Kendell Jones

August 13th, 2011
4:12 pm

My deepest condolences go ou to the Johnson family. Ernie was an icon, and the best commentator to ever braodcast a game. He was sincere, He was a friend(although I didn;t know him personally). But more than anything here was a very sincere person. I will remember him for a long time. No one greather than Ernie, Sr.

The best announcers in baseball

August 13th, 2011
4:21 pm

Wish there was somewhere to go to relive some of his old gems, I’ve looked on youtube and there’s a few, but not enough. I’ve missed hearing Ernie and Skip for years now, and can’t remember a move that made me angrier than when TBS decided to can them and go for a “more national, less home team” format for their announcers. Once they did this, I watched the game while listening to the radio for the next year. I’ll never forget the response that TBS received from the fans and I know Skip, Ernie, and Pete had to be blown away by the support. There will never again be as great a broadcast team for the Braves or baseball in general, we miss and love you guys. Pete, hang in there!
Ernie Jr and Family, you have my greatest sympathies and best wishes headed your way.

shaughn

August 13th, 2011
4:25 pm

growing up in Jacksonville, AL I watched the games on WTCG with Milo and Ernie, he was always great, even when the Braves were not

Shakey

August 13th, 2011
4:28 pm

Ernie was the best, and Atlanta and Baseball just lost a lot.

I liked the comment about “summertime never ending.” On the stage of my high school graduation in 1974, there was a Braves game on and some of us had radios under our gowns.

Prissy

August 13th, 2011
4:32 pm

It is a sad day for Braves “family” and fans, but we can all be grateful for having enjoyed Ernie during his time as Braves announcer. I, for one, am. Prayers and thoughts go to the Johnson family.

Tami

August 13th, 2011
4:33 pm

As good a night as our Braves had last night, it all sort of became a backdrop almost instantaneously when Chip & Joe announced Ernie Sr’s passing during the game in the late innings. I wondered for a second if the game had been on in the background as Ernie Sr began to fade. It probably wasn’t, but I wouldn’t have been surprised. It would be the way I’d want to go, personally. Life is just little bit emptier now that we don’t have both Skip and Ernie Sr. with us any longer. My thoughts and sympathies are with the Johnson family. May your beautiful memories of Ernie Sr. keep him close to you and comfort you always.

jerry

August 13th, 2011
4:33 pm

My love affair began with Ernie and Milo and flowered when Skip was teamed up with Ernie and Pete. We will miss these guys. Took Ernie retiring for me to understand what a good announcer was to a baseball game.

jerry

August 13th, 2011
4:34 pm

My love affair (with the Braves) began with Ernie and Milo and flowered when Skip was teamed up with Ernie and Pete. We will miss these guys. Took Ernie retiring for me to understand what a good announcer was to a baseball game.

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Craig & Bubba Kizer

August 13th, 2011
4:36 pm

What a great man!!!! Never to busy for his friends and their families.He will be sorely missed but my father is waiting on him and can “show him the ropes”.God Bless you Ernie and your family in this difficult time!!

SojournHR

August 13th, 2011
4:38 pm

Ernie was so positive – he always made the game fun even when the
Braves were ALWAYS on the bottom. The “real” stadium (Atlanta Fulton County) would be practically emply, but one time, Ernie said, “The Braves have drawn over a million on the road.” Classic comment; classic guy.

KYBravos' fan

August 13th, 2011
4:38 pm

Ernie was always so reassuring and positive. His calmness during those lean years was so wonderful. The Braves could be 25 GB and I couldn’t wait until the next game to listen to Ernie and hope for a win. He had a wonderful way of giving you optimism for the Braves’ future with his demeanor and even-keel way. My thoughts and prayers go out to Ernie Jr., his family, and to all of those many friends of Ernie Sr. What a wonderful human being. He will always be remembered by Braves’ fans everywhere.

bill

August 13th, 2011
4:43 pm

Ernie Johnson made Braves baseball barable when he sat beside Milo Hamilton and then John Stewart. I remember Ernie making me feel happy to be a Braves Fan even when we sucked. Ernie was at the mic the night my best friend got drawn for homerun for the money and who would be at bat. his idol Hank Aaron. Aaron took three straight called strikes. He never took the bat off his shoulder. Ernie said” Dennis from Mauldin, SC. God still loves you”

Randy Mobley

August 13th, 2011
4:43 pm

I was 16 when the Braves moved to Atlanta. I dropped the Dodgers and Koufax like a bad habit and became a Braves fan because of the wonderful hometown feel Ernie Johnson brought into our home 162 days a year. It was just obvious that he was a great guy. My wife and I met Ernie in the concourse in July 1978. He was so very friendly during our brief visit and I am so glad I was able to tell him how much I enjoyed his work. I have thought of him many times in the last few years and am so sorry about his passing. Ernie Johnson was the best.

Mark

August 13th, 2011
4:46 pm

I was one of the official scorers for the Braves starting in 1986 – and whereas if 99% of the announcers disagreed with a call, Ernie was the 1%. He just had too much class and respect to say anything negative on the air about anybody.

He was a very dear man and I think I summed it up best speaking with him one time saying that whenever I saw him in the press box, everything just seemed right with the world.

So many times I’d still be working on my game report and he’d be leaving for the night carrying his briefcase and I always cherished the “Goodnight big fella” he’s say as he was leaving.

What a treasure the city of Atlanta, and everyone, has lost.

RIP my friend!

Rick Fowler

August 13th, 2011
4:59 pm

I grew up in Florida before there were any baseball teams there. I would listen to the Braves on the radio through the voice of Ernie Johnson. It felt as if you were right there and of course the Braves always had a chance no matter the score. It was always a joy to hear that Ernie was at the mic. Might I say that EJ jr provides that comfort and quality as well. My prayers are with you as you say goodbye to someone who was my friend too.

Herbert A

August 13th, 2011
5:06 pm

Memories:

I remember the first trip in to see the Braves in 1971 from Augusta. This was with a little league team, and we came to see the Braves play the Expos. Back when it was 55mph max speed on I-20, and at age 15, the trip took forever it seemed. At the end of the night some kid from another Augusta group got lost, and Ernie brought him to our bus to get him a ride home. What a caring, nice guy! And were we thrilled to see Ernie up close?!…The last thing you’d expect before you leave the ballpark!! Thank you Ernie Johnson for being so nice, and the voice in our ear while we grew up.

In July this year, I visited friends in Milwaukee. Never been there before. We went to a restaurant, and on the foyer wall were pictures of all the old Milwaukee Braves. Next to the pictures was a display of all their baseball cards. It was the first time I had seen an Ernie Johnson baseball card. I took pictures of the display on my smart phone. Now I know I will keep these pics forever.

Somebody said that baseball marks the times of our lives in its own way. On August 12, 2011,
(I write this in tears) anyone who cares about the Atlanta Braves knows that we came to a bench mark, a milepost. We remembered a manager, the players, and voices of past glories. We expierenced the present, record-setting triumphs, and we anticipate the bright, hopeful future of our team. Those who got us here from the past have left us in pretty good hands.

Hurricane

August 13th, 2011
5:16 pm

Of course, growing up here in GA, I grew up watching and listening to Ernie, Skip, Pete. Ernie was a true professional in every since of the world. My first job out of college was in the Detroit area. Being able to listen to the trio of Ernie, Skip, and Pete on WSB, and being able to watch them on WTBS during the time I was in the Detroit area, went a long way in helping to me to get over being homesick from being a long way from home for the first time.

Ernie was calm no matter what the circumstances were. Whether the Braves were ahead or behind, he just always had that same calming effect with his voice.

As many have stated, we have truly lost a giant here in Atlanta. RIP Ernie!! Condolences to the Johnson Family!!

Mike B

August 13th, 2011
5:21 pm

First skip and now ernie i miss these guys very much i grew up listening to Skip,Ernie and pete and now we have lost 2 of them but more importantly the world lost because these guys were great and cared about other people but there is a winner here Heaven won big tonight because I know jesus is smiling because he has 2 great Angels now in Skip and pete and they are together again and the big man above leaves you with this on behalf of skip and ernie and on this winning night goodbye everybody.My prayers go out to the johnson family im sorry for the loss of your Dad he will be missed but i know he is ok he has Skip with him.The summers will never be the same for Braves baseball.

WTW

August 13th, 2011
5:26 pm

My enthusiasm for the ceremonies for Bobby Cox on my birthday was tempered by hearing of the loss of Ernie Johnson, Sr. To Ernie Jr. and his family and the Braves broadcasting family and the Braves organization, I offer my most sincere sympathies. I will miss hearing Ernie Sr. more than I’ll miss being eight years old.

Mike B

August 13th, 2011
5:26 pm

And also Skip,Pete and Ernie Thanks for the memories guys you have left me with a life time of them.

Larry

August 13th, 2011
5:28 pm

I remember 34 years ago when I took my 6 yo son to the Braves game with his autograph
book. We had been going to Braves games since he was a baby and eventually went eary so he could collect autographs.
At this particular game, we were sitting behind home plate. After the game we waited for most of the crowd to leave. After Ernie did the “post game” we walked up the steps and waved for him to sign the book. He lowered his net down and my son tossed the book in it.
Ernie signed it and lowered it back down. It is still a wonderful memory for my son and me. Ernie was that kind of person….he loved the game and most of all the fans. You and I were blessed by his presence.

ward

August 13th, 2011
5:28 pm

Thanks for the memories Ernie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

fred

August 13th, 2011
5:33 pm

Not a Braves fan out there that doesn’t associate himwith the horrible Braves of the old days and the great winning teams….either way he made listening and watching a pleasure- you didn’t need a TV to see what was happening when he broadcasted….God Bless the family

Bruce from Hartwell, Ga.

August 13th, 2011
5:40 pm

To Ernie Jr. and family …..

I grew up living and loving the Atlanta Braves and Ernie painted a great picture of live baseball over the radio..

My dad took me to games when the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966 when I came to stay with him in the summer time… My dad and mom divorced when I was about 5 or 6 , he moved to Atlanta and I grew up in Norfolk Va. with my mom…
I came every summer while school was out and Braves baseball was the greatest thing I knew along with staying with my dad…
When I had to go back home in late August every year, each night I would try to pick up WSB and Braves baseball. Fading in and out trying to hear the games, I can remember Ernie and crew calling the games…

Dad has been gone for 18 years now, but his memory lives on and so does memories of Ernie….

To Ernie Jr. (and family) remember this and you will see it’s true……….

HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU, YOU WILL ALWAYS SEE HIM AND HEAR HIM , JUST AS IF HE WERE STILL HERE …..

God Bless the Johnson Family and RIP ‘Big E’ …….

dawg4u

August 13th, 2011
5:50 pm

I can still hear Ernie Johnson broadcasting Braves games first with Milo and then later on with Skip and Pete. It was just comforting to listen to him broadcast some of the worst teams ever for the Braves. I can remember him laughing at the San Diego Chicken and responding to Mickey Mantle’s famous quote that “If I played like Pete Rose I’d have to wear a dress”, and Ernie’s response – “Can you picture Pete Rose in a dress?” The biggest compliment I can give Ernie is that he was definitely the best of our human breed and will be sorely missed. My best to Ernie Jr. and the family.

Jimmy Etheridge

August 13th, 2011
5:50 pm

Ernie, I just read about your dad and broke down. I’m on the verge of losing my mom (96). He explained many ball games to me. This is just like losing a member of my family. Godspeed, and you are all with us and in our prayers. –Jimmy.

Randy Trotter

August 13th, 2011
5:50 pm

Even when the Braves were very bad, in the 1960’s, I would sit in my parents room, where the only radio we had was, and listen to Ernie and Milo call the entire game until it was over or my parents wanted to go to bed…..he was an institution……he will be missed…….

BravesWSChamps2011

August 13th, 2011
5:52 pm

Yankees just signed their season away… Proctor?!? HAHA Idiots!

super17

August 13th, 2011
5:58 pm

As written by an earlier poster, I heard of Ernie Johnson’s passing on the way home from last night’s Braves game.
While at the game, I was drawn to a picture on the stadium concourse wall of Ernie Johnson interviewing Hank Aaron and another Brave while celebrating the 1969 Western Division title. I was attracted to the picture as it brought back fond memories of listening to Mr. Johnson first on radio during the early 70’s, and later on both radio and TV as the broadcast crew rotated through the radio and TV booths during the course of a game.
While visiting grandparents in North Carolina during the early 70’s, my dad would disappear from the house during the evening and I would find him laying across the front seat of the car listening to the Braves broadcast on WSB radio. I would join him and listen until our manners got the better of us and we would rejoin the family in the house to socialize. Seems a bit anti-social in hindsight, but I suppose we considered Ernie and the Braves to be family too. A wonderful memory I have almost 40 years later, and a testament to the joy that Ernie Johnson brought to my life, along with the many thousands of others who listened over the years, many of whom have or will be posting here.
Ernie, you made the world a better place for all of us, and we will always have a corner of our memories to which we can retreat when times are tough in order to recall happy times courtesy of you.

Glen W

August 13th, 2011
5:59 pm

Growing up a Braves fan when the Braves were a very bad team, it was the cheerful and optimistic voice of Ernie Johnson that led me to have optimism that the Braves just might win that night. He will be missed.

deuce

August 13th, 2011
6:03 pm

You could never mistake Ernie’s voice for any other. Anytime I was turning the old round dial on am radio in the vehicle and heard his voice I knew I was on the right channel. As much as the Braves may have struggled over the years (pre 1991)he always gave us a new hope each game! God bless Ernie’s family!

Lakedawg

August 13th, 2011
6:11 pm

I’m one of those who fell asleep with Ernie and Milo on my transistor radio many a night. God speed, Ernie.

A Longtime Fan

August 13th, 2011
6:12 pm

The optimism of my youth was revived every Spring by a this true to the game baseball man. The only thing he was ever pretentious about was the Braves chances when they were 10 below .500 at the break.

I’m glad Darrell Chaney posted here and wish the suits had realized he was in the same mold as Ernie. Maybe not the most polished broadcaster, but one who knew that it was about the game and not the broadcaster. Trite when compared to life and death but I’m somehow sure that Ernie wouldn’t mind being known as one of the best ambassadors the game ever had.

Jerrard Heard

August 13th, 2011
6:17 pm

I had the privilege of meeting Ernie Johnson on three different occasions. First, I shook his hand and got an autograph when I was 13 at Fulton County Stadium in 1982 down by the Braves dugout before a game in the midst of what was, to me, their most exciting season up to that point in Atlanta. Man, was listening to him, Pete, and Skip call those games during the 13-0 streak at the beginning of that year a blast, or what!? Then I saw him twice outside the old stadium in West Palm Beach during spring training in 1985 and 1986. That last time I had a picture taken with him, which I still treasure.

I studied broadcasting in college, I think largely because of my experiences meeting men like Mr. Johnson when I was young and finding them to be as kind in person as I had perceived them to be over the air. In a business filled with egos, that’s a rarity. Great and influential men are those who have themselves out of the way of their work. That was Ernie Johnson. A lack of self-preoccupation rendered him the same guy, everywhere, with everyone.

Vin Scully once called him “a delightful human being.” That simple statement by his friend of many years captures the unique ability Ernie had to inspire you, regardless of where you were, what you were doing, or what you were pursuing in life. Hearing his voice with regularity just made you feel better, like he was on your side. And he really was.

What a loss for baseball in particular, but the American airwaves in general. Why on earth is this man not in the Ford Frick wing of Cooperstown? Maybe he’ll be able to join Bob Prince, and I believe a couple of others there, posthumously.

May the Lord bless and comfort Lois, Chris, Dawn, Ernie, Jr. (who has his Dad’s class through and through), and the whole of Braves nation at this difficult time.

Jerrard Heard
Los Angeles

Bob

August 13th, 2011
6:23 pm

Awesome Dave, simply awesome. RIP Ernie.

hounddog

August 13th, 2011
6:25 pm

I grew up listening to Classic Ernie.
Smooth as honey, welcoming as a warm
blanket.
Ernie, Jr, you’re dad is smiling on you
as you take to the airwaves.
Peace to you and your family.

Bwood

August 13th, 2011
6:30 pm

God bless EJ Senior. He was epic in so many ways.

Gwinnett Fred

August 13th, 2011
6:37 pm

For those of you that are thanking DOB for this fabulous story – please read the byline below the picture – CARROLL ROGERS IS SUBBING AND WROTE THIS TREMENDOUS PIECE.

Thanks Carrol and God Bless the entire Johnson family on their loss.

lil david

August 13th, 2011
6:54 pm

I thank Ernie Sr.,for when i was a little kid during the mid 70′ s when the Braves were really bad listening to him theon radio in Macon Ga..for giving me hope that one day this city would win a world Championship. His voice was so incurating, even though we were a bad team back then…Thx Big Guy

Charles Collins

August 13th, 2011
6:54 pm

There’s not a lot I can say that hasn’t already been said. I started following the Braves in ‘69 when they won the Western Division, It began a 42-year and still growing love affair. Listening to Mr. Johnson was a pleasure that I’ll always treasure. Hearing the news of his passing last night brought me to tears. It was only fitting that Chip signed off last night’s broadcast with Ernie’s classic sign off.

My prayers and deepest sympathy go to his family. Thank you for sharing your husband, dad, and grandfather with Braves fans.

TheAntiMe

August 13th, 2011
6:56 pm

There’s no doubt in my mind, E.J., of how very proud that your dad was of you. You make light of your time playing for UGA but I know he had to be proud because not many make it as far as that. Your dad, without a doubt, has to be extremely proud of your great success as a broadcaster. It can be no coincidence that, although your style is not exactly the same as his was, you both were never afraid to have fun with the game.

Both you and your dad made it seem like you were not so much following a game broadcast but more like you were hanging out with a friend enjoying the game. So what if your team loses? It’s no great tragedy, which made winning seem like a very cool bonus.

Hang in there E.J. and know that we are all thinking of you at this most difficult of times.

Bob Hope

August 13th, 2011
6:59 pm

I worked with Ernie Johnson for 14 years and there was never a day he wasn’t kind and treating people with grace and dignity. I also was a crazy promoter in those days. When you ask someone to race an ostrich or emcee a frog jumping contest and he does it as if it is a treat and makes complete sense, you know even more that person is special. He was special. I especially remember him taking time on air to talk to the “shut-ins”, his special following of older people who couldn’t leave their homes, much less attend a game. No one can be more thoughtful than Ernie Johnson.

eddie willers

August 13th, 2011
7:14 pm

Nice to hear from Darrel Chaney and Bob Hope.

Darrel, I like you both as a player and an announcer. Glad to ’see’ you here.

Mr. Hope, When the star of your team is Larvell “Sugar Bear” Blanks, you NEED crazy promotions and comfort-food pros like Ernie Johnson to keep you interested in the long summer months.

Good job, all.

braves fan

August 13th, 2011
7:31 pm

Growing up as a braves fan and watching braves games as a young kid on TBS was how I got to know Ernie Sr, Skip Caray, and Pete Van Weren. Even in the 80’s when the braves were awful you had to watch because of those 3. When Skip passed it almost was like a part of your family left and now hearing the news of Ernie Sr. it feels the same. He was an awesome broadcaster and after hearing these stories about him he was a better man and father. He will be missed

Carnes Clan

August 13th, 2011
7:37 pm

A special man – I remember, as a kid, watching “It’s a long way to October” and being able to put a face with “the voice” I had heard for years. Then, finding out that his daughter was my brother’s teacher (I was sooooooo jealous he had a connection to the great Ernie Johnson…) He was a professional that cared for every fan!!! Thank you for the youthful memories… By the way, lost my Dad three months ago. took me to a Braves Fish Fry during the winter time where I was able to meet Mr. Johnson… I was just as thrilled to meet him as I was to meet the players!

Thanks for the memories!!!

Matt Campbell

August 13th, 2011
7:42 pm

What an emotional day for our baseball family yesterday. While the Braves were on every night from the time TBS began broadcasting here in NC, by the time I was old enough to know who was who and what was going on, Ernie was no longer doing every game. I remember him well nonetheless, and as I watch my 14 month old son play here on the floor I’m deeply saddened that his generation won’t be able to hear guys like Ernie, Skip and Pete. So long Ernie, you are missed.

Olde Fan

August 13th, 2011
7:45 pm

My son once scoffed, during a Braves game, that Ernie Johnson always said too many nice things about the other team. Then I read an article that quoted Ernie as saying that he was careful that way because the opposing players had families and loved ones, too, and they might be listening. He didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. What a kind, gentle man. They don’t make them like this anymore. He will be missed.

David

August 13th, 2011
7:46 pm

I was just wondering how Ernie was doing last night while listening to the festivities for Bobby Cox out here in Texas where I live now. I even hoped maybe he’d be in attendance. Very sad news to hear. In a way, it’s kind of fitting he passed on this night, of all nights. I know a lot of fans, and more importantly, people who knew Ernie personally through mutual affiliation with the Braves, are very saddened as well. It’s good that so many of those folks who may not ordinarily be in town are around for the Bobby Cox and ‘91 reunion. Probably lots of great stories around town this weekend. RIP Ernie!

Matt

August 13th, 2011
7:53 pm

Ernie Johnson Sr has always been my favorite announcer and listening to him call a game was like me sitting on the porch talking baseball with my grandad. I will always have a special place in my heart for him. My condolences.

william quevy

August 13th, 2011
7:59 pm

I grew up listening to ernie, he was great, especially with skip. May they both rest in peace

volspaws

August 13th, 2011
8:01 pm

God bless Ernie Johnson…my boyhood summer nights in Tennessee were brought to life by a cheap transistor radio, crackling with static, and Ernie’s calming, reassuring voice coming over the airwaves as the crickets chirped outside….class and dignity are the words that come to mind as i think of Ernie….there will never be another

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