White Sox broadcaster Ken 'Hawk' Harrelson to retire after 2018 season

Next season will mark the end of an era in the Chicago White Sox television booth.

Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, who has introduced fans to such catchphrases as “He gone!” and “You can put it on the board,” will officially walk away after 34 years behind the microphone.

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Harrelson and the White Sox made the announcement prior to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Red Sox.

Jason Benetti, who was hired to ease Harrelson’s workload prior to the 2016 season, has signed a new long-term contract and will take over as the White Sox full-time voice beginning in 2019.

After almost exclusively calling road games the past two seasons, the White Sox say Harrelson’s 2018 schedule will consist of 20 home games, with those primarily coming on Sundays.

Harrelson was emotional during his address to the media, summing up his tenure with the following statement:

“It has been an amazing honor for me to deliver White Sox baseball to generations of fans,” Harrelson said. “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.”

Harrelson started as the White Sox play-by-play man in 1982. He held the position until 1985, when he briefly stepped aside to become the White Sox general manager. In his one season, Harrelson made waves by firing now Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa. Harrelson will move into an ambassador role for the White Sox for at least the 2019 season.

Prior to his broadcasting career, Harrelson played nine seasons in the majors, suiting up for the Kansas City A’s, Washington Senators, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians. Over the years he would frequently weave stories from his playing days into his broadcasts. If you’ve seen or heard even one inning with Harrelson on the mic, chances are you’ve heard a “back in my day.”

Harrelson has added an old school perspective and voice to an evolving game within a progressing society. As a result, his commentary hasn’t always endeared him to modern audiences. In fact, Harrelson’s found himself in hot water numerous times for routinely dropping racial and ethnic stereotypes into his broadcasts.

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He’s also been criticized for his over-the-top homerism, which was often the driving force behind his litany of catchphrases. Unlike other recently retired broadcasting legends such as Vin Scully and Dick Enberg, Harrelson would be best described as a polarizing figure in his field. But he was always undeniably himself, which has helped cement his place in the game’s history.

Now that’s what Jason Benetti will attempt to do. The 33-year-old broadcasting veteran will have big shoes to fill, but it’s a job Benetti has seemingly been preparing for since childhood.

Benetti, who was born 10 weeks premature and has cerebral palsy, has answered every challenge placed in front of him during his life. He’s worked his way through the ranks, calling games for the Triple A Syracuse Chiefs, and college football for ESPN, and has now found a home exactly where he always wanted it.

When one door closes, another one opens.

Or In the White Sox case, when one era ends, another begins. And there’s no doubt they’re hoping it coincides with a resurgence on the field.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!