Ackerman, former WOOD and Detroit sportscaster, dies

Coined "Bless You Boys" rally cry for Detroit Tigers

Al Ackerman
A photo circa 1961 of former WOOD TV8 sports director Al Ackerman.

DETROIT (AP/WOOD) — Al Ackerman, a former TV sportscaster in West Michigan and then Detroit, has died. He was 90.

Family member Philip Handleman says Ackerman died Monday of natural causes at his home in Florida. He says a private service has been held.

Ackerman joined WOOD TV8 in 1954. In addition to serving as the station’s sports director, he hosted WOOD’s public service show, “Unit 8,” as well as two sports shows each day on WOOD Radio. He also broadcasted the play-by-play for Michigan State football on a network of radio stations across the state.

He went on to work for stations including WDIV and WXYZ during a 25-year career in Detroit from the 1960s to the 1980s. He coined the rally cry “Bless You Boys” for the Detroit Tigers leading up to the team’s 1984 World Series win.

In 1997, he was inducted into the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, a recognition his family says was among his greatest honors.

Before moving to TV sports, Ackerman was a teacher in Chicago for five years.

Handleman described Ackerman as a “Renaissance man” who loved classical music, appreciated literature and was interested in public affairs.

Survivors include Ackerman’s wife, Terese Ann; two daughters; a sister-in-law; and grandchildren.

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