Bobb Vergiels announces his final game at Comerica Park

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DETROIT (WTVG) - It is a distinct voice booming over the speakers at sports venues you likely frequent around Toledo and Southeast Michigan.

"Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and welcome all to Comerica Park," Bob Vergiels says into his microphone at Comerica Park about 50 minutes prior to this game's first pitch. "I'm Bob Vergiels and I'm proud to serve as your public address announcer throughout this the 2018 baseball season and the last 15 seasons of Detroit Tigers baseball."

Except, this is the final game for Vergiels at Comerica Park. He unplugged his microphone at the public address announcers perch here at the ballpark. Vergiels is from Monroe County, but spent the last couple of seasons driving to work from Florida.

Yes. Florida.

He moved to the Sunshine State to help take care of his mom. Vergiels traveled back and forth from Florida for each homestand at Comerica Park and would stay at his cousin's apartment in Ida, Mich.

A recent trip back to Florida made him reconsider this commute when a semi truck driver nearly ran Vergiels off the road because the driver of the truck fell asleep at the wheel.

"I was pretty lucky," Vergiels said before his final game at Comerica Park. "That's the first near miss I had in all those miles. I've driven through Atlanta, and Knoxville and Cincinnati and some really rough times."

The final day at Comerica Park is mostly routine for Vergiels.

"...Headlined by Hall of Famer Alan Trammel. Call 313..."

But Vergiels finds himself on the field before the game to throw out the game's first pitch. So when the public address announcer throws out the first pitch, who introduces the public address announcer?

Easy. The in-game host Heather Park.

"Please welcome to the field, the PA voice of Comerica Park, Bob Vergiels," Park proclaims over the stadium sound system.

Vergiels steps on to the field wearing a Tigers jersey he had made for his late father. The elder Vergiels wanted to be burried in the jersey, but his wife - Bobb's mother - said no. Vergiels wore it for big events at Comerica Park such as the World Series, the All-Star Game or even throwing out the first pitch.

"I've always been a Tiger fan, my family has always been a Tiger fan, my dad saw the Tigers play in 1927," Vergiels said. "It just seemed to me that the talent I have lies here. The Tigers gave me a chance."

The Tigers present Vergiels with a framed jersey featuring his name on the back with the number 15 for his years sitting in the public address announcer's chair. But the club knows his voice is still near.

"When the Tigers come in to Lakeland next year for Spring Training, I'll be there for my third year with the Tigers doing spring training," Vergiels said. "When the Tigers go north, I will stay south and when the Lakeland Flying Tigers are on the field, I'll be announcing those games in Joker Marchant Stadium Publix Field. I tell all my friends, I'm still going to see all the Tigers, just three years before you see them."