- Associated Press - Friday, August 12, 2011

ATLANTA (AP) - Former longtime Braves broadcaster and pitcher Ernie Johnson Sr. has died.

The Braves said Johnson died Friday night at the age of 87.

Johnson, the father of broadcaster Ernie Johnson Jr., played with the Boston and Milwaukee Braves before becoming the voice of the Braves on radio and TV.

Braves general manager John Schuerholz said, “the Braves family has suffered a great loss today.”

“Ernie was the heart and soul of the Braves for so long, first as a player and then as the voice of the team in the broadcast booth,” Schuerholz said. “Our hearts are heavy today and we will miss him dearly.”

The Braves will wear a commemorative patch on their uniforms the remainder of the season.

No details of the cause of death were immediately available.

Johnson, also a former Braves public relations director, joined the broadcast team in 1962 and took over play-by-play duties in 1966, when the team moved to Atlanta. His gentle delivery was a good fit for his Southern listeners.

Johnson’s final full season was in 1999. He was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in 2001.

Johnson and his wife, Lois, were married for 63 years.

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