The Detroit Tigers have reportedly lined up Puerto Rican singing great Jose Feliciano to reprise his stylized version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in tribute to the late Ernie Harwell during Monday's (May 10) tribute to the announcer at Comerica Park.
It was Harwell who sponsored Feliciano's national anthem performance before Game 5 of the 1968 World Series. His slowed-down, jazzy, Latin-flavored rendition was one of the first at a sporting event to deviate from the traditional melody, and it proved controversial, with some radio stations boycotting his music for several years afterward.
Nevertheless, the song spent five weeks on the Billboard charts when it was released as a single, peaking at No. 50. And Harwell remained a supporter and consistently defended Feliciano's version, which is now considered a classic.
Monday's engagement will also return the blind Feliciano, who's 64, to a city where he played his first professional performance at the age of 17, after leaving high school.