13 April 2009 by Published in: General musings 6 comments

Harry Kalas, the Hall-of-Fame broadcaster whose silvery voice has been the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies since 1971, is gone. From Philly.com:

Phils announcer Harry Kalas dies

BY THE INQUIRER STAFF

Harry Kalas, the Phillies’ Hall of Fame announcer, died at 1:20 p.m. today, the Phillies announced.

Mr. Kalas was 73.

He collapsed in the press box at Nationals Stadium in Washington at about 12:30 p.m. and was rushed to George Washington University Medial Center.

The cause of the death was not announced. Today’s game against the Nationals will be played, but the team will not visit the White House tomorrow.

“We lost Harry today,” David Montgomery, the team president, said. “We lost our voice.”

Mr. Kalas, who was found unconsious, missed most of spring training after undergoing undisclosed surgery in Feburary. That surgery was unrelated to the detached retina that sidelined him for part of last season.

Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) praised Mr. Kalas in a statement.

“As the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies, Harry Kalas was everyone’s friend in this region. His incisive commentaries will be sorely missed.”

Susan Buehler, president of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of NATAS, today issued this statement upon hearing the news.

“The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences sends our heartfelt condolences to Harry’s family, his friends, his colleagues and many generations of fans. In 2002, NATAS bestowed our Chapter’s most prestigious honor – the Governor’s Award honoring his lifetime achievements. He was a beloved and respected broadcaster in the TV industry with a distinguishing voice that will resonate for years to come.”

Mr. Kalas, who turned 73 on March 26, has broadcast Phillies games since 1971. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002 as the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award. He is entering the final season of a 3-year contract that he signed in December 2006.

We’ve lost one of the truly great ones. At least Harry got to call and experience the 2008 World Series victory of the Phillies. Now he will be reunited with his best friend and partner, Richie Ashburn, who left us too soon in 1997. And now Harry’s “outta here”, which was his signature line. Every great broadcaster has one, and that was Harry’s.

And with Harry’s passing, so passed another piece of my childhood. I can never remember a time when Harry wasn’t calling the Phillies, through good times and bad. Jayson Stark got it right when he said earlier today that the thought of listening to a Phillies game without Harry calling it is unimaginable.

Rest in peace, Harry. You will be missed.

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Comments

  1. Ken Noe
    Mon 13th Apr 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Eric: I started listening to him as a high school kid in Virginia, and always enjoyed it. Funny thing is, I was just discussing him this morning with one of my grad students, who like you is a big Phils fan. It’s very, very sad.–Ken

  2. Stan O'Donnell
    Mon 13th Apr 2009 at 7:37 pm

    I called my Mom earlier today to tell her about Harry K and she started crying. She was expecting to listen to this afternoons game today with my Dad.

    I could hear my Dad in the background asking what was wrong and when he found out, he too, got choked up, took the phone from my Mom and reminded me of the day, almost 40 years ago, that we met Harry K and how kind he was to a certain 12 year old boy whom had just recently moved to Philly from Pittsburgh Pirate-burg. HK had just left Houston so he sympathized with the 12 year old.

    I don’t know. I still miss Whitey still and now they’re both gone. I think my parents felt very old today but I’m very glad that I was the one to break the sad news.

    I was that twelve year old boy and Harry K always felt like an uncle of mine after that meeting many moons ago. Listening for almost 40 years. Starting each and every April.

    I still remember the times when Richie would say something borderline idiotic and Harry K would then immediately say something to get Richie off the hook.
    It was finally my Dad that would explain to me that it was an extra inning game and that Richie had one too many Schmidt’s or brandy sours and that his friend Harry was just covering for him.

    Man, I’m gonna’ miss those two.

  3. Rock Frisoli
    Mon 13th Apr 2009 at 9:47 pm

    To me, Harry Kalas was synonymous with the Phillies, but it seemed everywhere I’d turn, there was his voice. There were so many other things I’d watch through the years – especially NFL Films and the Notre Dame football highlight shows. I’m 41 years-old. He was doing the Phils games for 38 years, so I basically was listening to him from the moment I got interested in sports.

    I got the message when I was at work and had to take a short break to get over the shock. It’s not just a man that passed away, he was much more than that. Even though I never met him, he was like an friend who was always there for me. Today, a part of me and my childhood died.

  4. Mon 13th Apr 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Although I have only lived in Pennsylvania for 7 years, as a baseball fan, I listen fairly often to Phillies games (and Orioles games) on York’s two sports radio stations. Harry Kalas was smooth, entertaining, and knowledgeable. He will be missed.

  5. Steve Basic
    Tue 14th Apr 2009 at 2:22 am

    While I like to joke about Philly, Harry was the one thing I always loved about Philadelphia. It’s sad that over the past years, many voices associated with baseball teams for many years have passed away. They can never be replaced, and it always feels like you have lost a member of the family.

    Harry died too young, but I take solace that when his time did come today, he was at the ballpark doing what he loved…preparing to call a Phillies game.

  6. Mitch
    Thu 16th Apr 2009 at 1:20 pm

    I was at the Nationals game where he died. I was shocked when they put his picture up on the stadium screen just before the game and asked for a moment of silence. It was a very long moment, but you could have heard a pin drop the entire time. Seems like everybody (except my 13 year old son) knew who he was. The Phillies on the field were visiby moved.

    I was raised in Philadelphia and remember him well from my teenage years. Too bad.

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