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Baseball will miss Harrelson’s big personality, Paciorek says

Ken Harrelson (left) and Tom Paciorek.

CLEVELAND — Less Ken Harrelson will be baseball’s loss, Tom Paciorek says, but good for the “Hawk,’’ who is wrapping up his final season broadcasting White Sox road games this weekend.

“I told him to concentrate on his grandkids because that’s what I did,’’ said Paciorek, who filled in for Steve Stone alongside his long-time partner Friday for the last time this season. “Spend as much time with them as possible. They might aggravate you a bit, but they will keep you younger.’’

Jason Benetti will graduate from a home-games-only schedule to do Sox play-by-play home and away next season, although Harrelson will make some home appearances. Paciorek hopes he gets to come alongside, and so would longtime fans who still enjoy the once popular pairing.

“I thought it was really fun,’’ said Paciorek, a Sox broadcaster from 1988-99 who has occasionally filled in for Stone since then. “Those are years I will always cherish. We were like two guys maybe having a beer and talking about the game.’’

Paciorek prefers “a little volatility” like Harrelson, the Reds’ Marty Brenneman and the Indians’ Tom Hamilton present. He sees fewer big personalities behind the microphone, and that is baseball’s loss, he said.

“Hawk’s different, let’s put it that way,’’ Paciorek said. “Howard Cosell was different. Harry Caray was different. That’s what is most appealing to me, anyway. I like a guy who is more off the wall and not so much a cookie-cutter announcer.’’

That said, Paciorek is happy to see Harrelson easing his way out.

“I think it will be a successful transition for him,’’ Paciorek said. “And I really hope those people come to their senses and put him in the Hall of Fame. When you consider what he’s done in the industry, and how colorful he is, those are the people a lot of people like to listen to.

“He should be there. There are none more deserving than Hawk.’’

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Email: dvanschouwen@suntimes.com

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