Braves announcer Ernie Johnson dies at age 87

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Ernie Johnson Sr., a former major league pitcher better known for his long tenure in the broadcast booth with the Braves, passed away Friday night at age 87.

Johnson went 40-23 in a nine-year major league career spent mostly with the Boston and Milwaukee Braves.  Primarily a middle reliever before such a role got much attention, he finished his career with 19 saves and a 3.77 ERA.  He had his best year in 1953, the Braves’ first in Milwaukee, went he amassed a 2.67 ERA in 81 innings.  He  followed that up with a 2.81 ERA in 99 1/3 innings in 1954.  Also, he allowed one run over seven innings in the Braves’ 1957 World Series victory over the Yankees.

But it was his second career for which he’ll long be remembered.  Johnson worked with the Braves from 1962-99, doing both play-by-play and color.  Even after his retirement, he spent at least one series in the Atlanta booth in each of the next several seasons.  He worked with his son, Ernie Johnson Jr., in the SportSouth booth from 1993-96, and the Braves inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2001.

If there is an ALCS Game 7, Ric Flair will call out “Play Ball!”

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I don’t really care who wins the ALCS, but part of me wants to see it go seven games now. Why? Because if the Astros win tonight and force a Game 7, the series will be visited by a Rolex-wearin,’ kiss-stealin,’ wheelin-dealin,’ limousine ridin,’ jet flyin,’ son of a gun, jack! From the Chronicle:

The Astros-Yankees American League Championship Series gets to a Game 7, the Astros will have pro wrestling superstar Ric Flair call out “Play Ball!” before the game in a video message. Astros right fielder Josh Reddick is a huge wrestling fan and uses Flair’s entrance music every time he steps to the plate at Minute Maid Park. Fans also have adopted the wrestler’s “Woo!” yell throughout the season.

That’s pretty cool. It’d be even cooler if it ended with a Dusty Finish.