For many that followed the Braves in the early years, Ernie Johnson Sr. was the smooth radio voice of sanity for a franchise that lost more than it won. There have been few in the business who were better liked than Johnson, who bled class. Like his son Ernie Johnson Jr. said: “I would be walking with him in the (old) stadium and someone would yell, ‘Hey Ernie, we are up here from Unadilla.’ And he would go sit and talk with them for 15 minutes. I learned so much from that man.’’

This photo, taken in 1979 right around the time when Ernie Jr. graduated from Georgia, is an example of the relationship they shared. They are looking at another photo of themselves, from around 1959 when Ernie was 3 and his father was playing for the Milwaukee Braves.

“I’m not sure but I think that was taken at County Stadium (in Milwaukee), when the Braves were honoring the 1957 championship team which my father was on,’’ said Ernie Jr. “He was about to retire then and I wore that uniform everywhere. I was always playing baseball.’’

Ernie Sr., who died in 2011, was a reliever with 273 games appearances and was the key arm coming out of the bullpen on the ’57 title team that beat the Yankees in the series in seven games. He then worked for 37 years as a Braves announcer, both on radio and television.

His son, meanwhile, continues to carry the torch on the air with the same Johnson dignity everyone has come to expect. Fighting through a battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosed in 2003, Ernie Jr. has been the host of the NBA on TNT since 1990, as well as doing the MLB playoffs and the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament. He also got the chance to work with his father on Braves broadcast from 1993-96.

“I miss him every day,’’ he said. “There are moments when I wish I could bounce things off of him. Anyone that has lost a dad knows those feelings … that void.’’

Just last week, Ernie Jr., 58, showed that Johnson touch when he won his third Sports Emmy for Best Studio Host but used it instead to honor the late Stuart Scott of ESPN, who died of cancer in January. He handed the award to Scott’s two daughters,

“My dad taught me a lot when he wasn’t even trying to teach me things,’’ he said. “I just learned from him that just because you may be doing something special and a job everybody recognizes, it doesn’t make you special. You are just doing what you are gifted to do.’’