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Harry Kalas Was Baseball

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, April 13, 2009 06:30 PM | Comments: 135
Commentary, Harry Kalas Tribute, Posts

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My mother’s and father’s were the first two voices I heard after I was born. Now I’m not sure, but I would bet the third was the voice of Harry Kalas.

It was a stunning voice. His rich, regal baritone felt like the wind shaving across a midwestern field. He was an Illinois boy, honing his craft in the fields of Iowa – closely neighboring the fields where Richie Ashburn rooted. He moved to Hawaii, then to Houston, then to Philadelphia. Despite his youth, he carried that majestic voice, deep and hearty, assured and personable. It honestly felt like baseball.

And for millions of us, Kalas’ voice wasn’t simply something that felt like baseball, it was baseball. It was the first sound heard when we turned the radio dial, then it was the first sound heard when we clicked to the television. It greeted us to the park as if we sat there ourselves. His words wrapped around the hollow concourses of Veterans Stadium, echoed into the field, warmed us on those chilly summer nights. And yet it defined our lazy summer afternoons, sitting at the public pool, or on the stoop, or in our living rooms. It cradled our hopes and ambitions of a team that always let us down.

Harry never let us down.

Even if we had the opportunity to meet the man, he didn’t let us down. I attended a Philadelphia Sportswriters Banquet years ago, and during an intermission my brother took me outside for a cigarette. As we stood outside, I – no more than 12 – noticed him, that iconic image: Clean black tuxedo, well-quaffed gray hair, a cigarette in one hand, a glass of scotch in another. All alone, he contemplated the night sky. My brother and I walked past him, and I let it out, as if showing my father I could ride a bicycle:

“Long drive … watch that baby … outta here!”

He glanced over, chuckled and tipped his head to me. I could have floated in air.

That wasn’t my first run in with Harry. At age 6 he mulled over my scorecard during Terry Mulholland’s no hitter. Upon learning this news, no longer was the greatest joy that I witnessed a no hitter, but that Harry Kalas spoke about me on the air. That voice spent a few seconds with me.

Since those moments, I cherished Harry as he had grown older and, sadly, sicklier. We all knew it, and we all recognized it, but we didn’t dare speak about it. Scott Franzke denied ever thinking Harry would leave the booth. Even though we mocked his missed calls and premature vocal rises, we never, ever wanted him to leave the booth. Not our voice. Not our baseball.

Harry Kalas was baseball. And he was Philadelphia. He was as much part of the city as William Penn’s hat. As much part of the city as the green of the Walt Whitman Bridge. We would hear him on NFL Films and think “he’s our guy.” We would hear others speak about the golden voice and think “he’s our guy.” Our pride for Harry was greater than maybe our pride for the Phillies themselves.

Of course, that pride grew in 2008, the special season that redeemed our faith in the local baseball club. And when Brad Lidge uncorked that final slider, it was Harry’s call we longed to hear:

“The oh-two pitch – swing and a miss! Struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are two-thousand eight world champions of baseball!”

Just as we knew he’d call it. And it remains our lasting memory of Harry. It joins the bin with his iconic call of Mike Schmidt’s 500th home run as his greatest moments. There are numerous others, from Pat Burrell’s defiant home run off Brian Wilson last season, to Garry Maddox’s final out of the 1980 National League Championship Series. The phrases are etched in our minds: “Long drive!” “Struck ‘em out!” “Could it be?!” “This ball’s outta here!” The character follows.

And what a character. We knew Harry loved a good drink, and we knew Harry loved a good time. Even at his most downtrodden when calling a game, he sounded somewhat optimistic. With Ashburn, he played the surprised straight man to Whitey’s guffaw and bluster. Together, they played like two uncles, men you knew instantly. And even after Richie died, Harry remained warm and cordial, sometimes straight to Larry Andersen’s dumbfounded northwestern everyman. But more than anything he grew into an exalted man, the kind of legendary person that Philadelphians hardly find. His name adorned a Citizens Bank Park restaurant. Yes, he was baseball.

In simpler times, though, Harry was the lazy summer afternoon, the chilly summer night, the open cornfields of Iowa, the steel and brick of Philadelphia. He was soothing even in the darkest days. He kept us coming back to the team no matter how bad it seemed. Not many can do such a thing.

To me, Harry is part of my family. He is my fifth uncle, my summer retreat. He is Phillies baseball. Throughout the 24 years of my life, there have been few constants, and besides my family, there has been the Phillies, and there has been Harry Kalas. For millions across the Delaware Valley and beyond, the feeling is exactly similar. So listening today was tough – Tom McCarthy and Chris Wheeler, and Gary Matthews and Larry Andersen filled the gaps well, but there was no voice. There was no regal baritone serenading me to the field. There was no optimistic tingle in the hearty chords. There was no “High Hopes.” There was no “outta here.”

In a way, there was no baseball.

But baseball proceeds. There will be a game Wednesday. And a game Thursday. And so on until the season ends, and another season begins. And so on. And we will proceed without Harry, without the voice. At some point, a new voice will emerge. Who knows which voice fills our lazy summer afternoons and chilly summer nights. Who knows which voice fills our stoops and living rooms. Maybe that voice will engage millions more the way Harry engaged us, but it sure won’t be the same. Not at all.

For yes, Harry Kalas was baseball in Philadelphia. He was my baseball. He was my voice. He was my uncle. And he was our friend.

Avatar of Tim Malcolm

About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Georgie

    Tim, this is where you truly shine, putting into words in the most beautiful and eloquent way what all of us Phillies fans are feeling right now. I watched the replay of yesterday’s game, it’s so hard to believe that was the last game Harry will ever call.

    Memories of sitting outside with the radio on, Harry’s voice was like a soft summer breeze wrapping me in a comfy, warm blanket, it felt like home, like for those few hours, everything was ok.

     
  • Posts: 0 Wally

    Any chance of someone posting an audio clip of his call on Schmidt’s 500th HR?

     
  • Posts: 0 Brian of CO

    WOW What an absolutely GREAT piece if writing. Once of the best I have seen on hear. I sincerely hope the newspaper gets ahold of this one. Thank you for summing up all of out emotions. It would be a flat out Lie if I said I didnt cry today. Harry the K was the one thing that not only did many of our fathers listen to before we were born, but our grandfathers as well. We all wish we would never see this day, where we no longer have Whitey or Harry the K, but alas, Heaven has one more baritone angel amongst them. We will miss you Harry Kalas. I for one had 2 shots of Jameson Irish Whiskey in his honor, one for each of the World Series Parades he took part in. If anyone knows of the particular brand of scotch he prefered, I would be tempted to have another shot.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brian of CO

    Sorry for all the misspelled words, Im sure everyone can understand why it happened.

     
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  • Posts: 0 From Section 113

    Great piece Tim. I am still just shocked by this, so sad.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chris

    Beautifully said. That last sentence – I’m sure it will stick in readers’ hearts for a long time.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jane Miloradovich

    poignant, touching- from the heart. thank you. rip Harry

     
  • Posts: 0 Jay

    think there needs to be a top 25 Harry Calls list

     
  • Posts: 0 Rob

    If any of you caught the game today I was lucky enough to get on TV with my little tribute to HK after the Ibanez solo shot.

    I got a call from my friend right before the game and he shared the news with me. Without hesitating I turned over my ticket printed on computer paper and wrote “OUTTA HERE. RIP HARRY.”

    I figured it was small, but it was the best I could do, and Phillies fans all over got to see it.

    Like everyone else, I’m not sure I can explain what HK meant to me. All I know is that there was a place in me for Harry Kalas and now that he’s gone, that place feels empty. Watching a Phillies game will never be the same knowing he’s not up there, watching over all of us.

     
  • Posts: 0 Josh

    Although this I’ve been following this site for over a year, this is my first post……………
    First of all, what a beautifully written article Tim. Thanks for putting what all of us are thinking into words. Being that I’m 22, Harry was always part of watching Phillies games for me. I remember the years of the mid to late 90′s and early 2000s, where the Phillies teams were always downright awful. Even though they were terrible, I tuned in alot just becuase I liked listening to Harry, especially his interactions with LA and his heated banter with wheels. His commentary made even the worst of game interesting, and for me, Phils broadcasts will NEVER be the same. Let’s hope the Phils bring Harry’ son Todd into the fold; while harry will never be replaced, I think Todd could do the best job at at least filling the huge void he’s left in all of us fans. RIP Harry.

     
  • Posts: 0 Peter M.

    This was quite a shock to the everyday doldrums. Harry’s voice, character and personality will be irreplaceable — a definite sad day in Philadelphia. Good luck Tom McCarthy.

     
  • Posts: 0 the lopez!

    harry kalas was the voice of football too.
    just watch an nfl films production and not think of him.
    not only a great voice but genuine nice person

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    I remember back in the 70’s, turning off the MLB broadcasters for the playoffs against the Dodgers and turning on the radio to hear Harry and Ash. One of the best baseball voices ever. I will miss him. Harry is outta here! RIP

     
  • Posts: 0 Mom

    Timothy…What a beautiful article. I know it was a tough one to write. When you were a kid you wanted to be Harry Kalas…..I can still hear you calling games from the shower…most people sing, you did Harry the K.
    This is a big loss to the city of Philadelphia and to baseball.
    But as your mom, I know it’s a personal loss for you…..I’m so sorry Tim….I love you!

     
  • Posts: 0 mick

    Tim, a wonderful, personal tribute–Harry is Philadelphia baseball—It will never be quite the same.

     
  • Posts: 0 Dan

    Harry… T_T

     
  • Posts: 0 bull

    Great piece, nothing was better than listening to the phils on the radio sitting out on the front porch with my dad and the neighbors. Last night i put a radio in my kids room so they could listen to a game as they went to sleep something i dont think many get to enjoy too much anymore.

     
  • Posts: 0 Woodman

    This article states how we all feel. Thank you. RIP, Harry.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I found out about this as I was on my way to the Nats ballpark yesterday. Very sad news… He will be missed. I’m happy he lived a good life and got to see us win it all last season.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Yesterday was a weird day for me.. As soon as I heard that Harry had collapsed, I thought the worst, and Im not sure why.. I think he did look frail last week throwing out that first pitch, he just looked drained of energy..

    But anyway, I didn’t cry or anything, just really sat back and thought about how much different things will be without HK.. Tom McCarthy has some huge shoes to fill, I didn’t hear it, but by all accounts, he did a fine job yesterday kept his composure and was a true professional.. if that is the case, nice work Tmac.. Harry would be proud!

    On espn950 last night they had people calling-in saying what the Phillies should do.. among the two that I thought were the best: An inning of silence on the TV broadcast, only when there is no voice at all, can we truly appreciate just how great Harry’s voice was..

    and the one that really should stick..

    After every home WIN, over the loudspeakers, and with the crowd singing along.. HIGH HOPES

    “Next time your found, with your chin on the ground
    There a lot to be learned, so look around

    Just what makes that little old ant
    Think hell move that rubber tree plant
    Anyone knows an ant, cant
    Move a rubber tree plant

    But hes got high hopes, hes got high hopes
    Hes got high apple pie, in the sky hopes

    So any time your gettin low
    stead of lettin go
    Just remember that ant
    Oops there goes another rubber tree plant”

    This would have generation after generation singing praise to Harry and celebrating each WIN with something special, and truly meaningful to all Phillies fans!!

     
  • Posts: 0 gabriel

    as always tim, great job. not many people can personify an entire fanbase’s sentiment. you have done just that.
    i moved to jersey in ’98, became an everyday phils phan by ’01 – the year i graduated high school… it didn’t take long to realize the impact that Mr. Harry Kalas provided our beloved phillies… this man WAS baseball as you so eloquently put it tim. he was phillies baseball. a sad day for sure across the delaware valley and beyond. any baseball purist knows exactly what will never again be obtained by this great sport. by this great man.
    i checked my facebook last night before falling asleep and what i saw there brought back every emotion… ALL of the posts on my ‘home page wall’ referred to Harry Kalas and how we will miss him, it’ll never be the same, personal stories, etc…
    i know i haven’t been around as long as some, but i can certainly appreciate what was taken away from the phillie phaithful yesterday afternoon… rest in piece Harry Kalas for you will be missed by many.

     
  • Posts: 0 Kristina

    Very well said, you took what we were all feeling and put it to words. I’m 28 and have been watching the Phils since I was a little girl. Harry’s voice was all I knew. I was sitting in class when my husband texted me of Harry’s death and I was absolutely stunned. I actually had my Phillies tshirt on yesterday too. I came home and started crying when it finally sunk in and I looked at many of harry’s pictures. What did it for me was watching a clip of him announce brad’s strike out of the world series. I lost it. And your article did it again! I’ve never met Harry kalas, but it’s amazing how someone you never met can have such a strong impact on your life and you never even realize it till they are gone. It’s just such a sad day in Phillies baseball, but like you said we gotta keep going, and we gotta keep going for Harry!! Go Phils!!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Its been a tough night and morning all the memories, When I grew up in outside of Philly we lived in Harry’s neighborhood and I remember the first time we went up to his house for Trick n Treating, and when we all left his house you were just glowing, he had the effect on people! My brother is in the radio business and constantly talks about when he met him outside the ballpark.

    We love you Harry and Phillies games will never be the same, our families all will miss you!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Mark

    Tim, thank you for that article. It was beautiful, just like Harry was.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jonathan Atwood

    An amazing tribute. You truly captured the emotions I think we all felt yesterday, and still do today. I know I spent the better part of yesterday sobbing. Everytime one of his iconic calls came on, I choked up.

    I truly felt like I just lost my favorite uncle. He was baseball. He was Philadelphia.

    Great job brother.

    My tribute to HK, if you’re interested:

    http://www.hotstovephilly.com/2009/04/13/the-voice-is-now-silent/

     
  • Posts: 0 Phighter in NYC

    When I think of Harry Kalas, I think of being nine years old in the summer of 1980, watching that championship season in my grandfather’s kitchen and hearing his voice. Or in 1993, watching games in my dorm room and hearing his voice. Or in 2008, watching the games in my office and hearing his voice. And all the lean years in between at various locations, hearing his voice — and Whiteys, of course, enjoying their midgame musings on bunting as a lost art as much as the triumphs. I am saddened that we have lost his voice — more so than I could have ever imagined. I didn’t fully appreciate how much a part of our lives he was.

    We Philadelphians were blessed to have had Harry be our voice for so many years. More than any player that ever donned the pinstripes, he represented us. In a sports town often misunderstood and maligned, he represented the best of us — intelligent and passionate about the team, the fans, the city and the game, win or lose.

    Thanks, Tim, for the heartfelt tribute to Harry.

     
  • The whole baseball world lost a legend in Harry, but Phillies fans feel the pain the most.

    We posted a poetic tribute to Harry on Bardball.com today, for those interested.

    http://bardball.com/

     
  • Posts: 0 Justin

    I just think of all the times down at the Vet waiting for autographs seeing him walk in the Phillies front office doors and him sitting down his briefcase and just talking shop or taking the time to sign autographs or just talk about anything in general, i remember asking advice about going into communications for sports and him just giving me helpful hints and just taking time to talk to everyone which rang true in the interview PN had with Scott Franzke. When the news came across the airways and internet yesterday it was like a loss in my family here’s a man who took time out of his day to talk to anyone who asked for a minute of his time, he had a minute for everyone it seemed, that’s what made him special. Just read Ray Didinger’s article on csnphilly.com about Harry and it was a real heartfelt story and just made me think of all the memories in the last 20 years I’ve been lucky enough to have. I got to talk with Whitey before his untimely death and thankfully I got to talk to Harry as well so I consider myself fortunate to have been able to say that not only did I get to meet him but I got to talk to him. Phillies baseball just lost a lot of it’s luster without its biggest star.

    On a side note, I don’t know if I can handle 9 innings of Chris Wheeler, I can only hope Franzke comes to TV or they hire Scott Graham back.

     
  • Posts: 0 Mark

    I remember rushing home from school to turn on the TV during day games to listen to Harry call the games. I would turn the volume down on the TV and turn the radio on to hear Harry over the TV broadcasters. I owe my love of baseball to my father and grandfather, but Harry had a big part in that too. I was only 6 months old when they won it in 1980, I was 14 when they made the series in 1993 and I cried when they lost. Last year was possibly the best year of my life getting to witness our team win it again! All the while, Harry making that infamous strike out call.

    Yesteray at 1:20, time stood still for a moment as one of the legends of the game was taken from this great city. Phillies baseball will never be the same.

    Thanks for all the wonderul memories Harry. You will be missed!

     
  • Posts: 0 Robbo

    “HARD TO BELIEVE HARRY” — WHITEY ASHBURN
    WE LOVE YOU HARRY AND WE WILL MISS YOU – THE ROBINSON’S

     
  • Posts: 0 GM-Carson

    When asked the popular question, “Who would you most like to have dinner with dead or alive?”, I always responded Harry Kalas; and my answer will never change. I love and miss you Harry, and so does all of baseball.

     
  • Posts: 0 Justin

    Because Harry was the greatest, he even wrote a poem about us that I nabbed from Jon Atwood’s article:

    This is to the Philadelphia fan.
    To laud your passion as best I can. Your loyalty is unsurpassed.
    Be the Fightins in first or last.

    We come to the park each day,
    looking forward to another fray.

    Because we know you’ll be there,
    we know you really care.

    You give the opposing pitcher fits
    because as one loyalist shouts, everybody hits.

    To be sure in Philly, there might be some boos.
    Because you passionate fans, like the manager, hate to lose.

    Your reaction to the action on the field that you impart,
    spurs as broadcasters to call the game with enthusiasm and heart.

    We feel your passion through and through.
    Philadelphia fans, I love you.

     
  • Posts: 0 Mike

    In my short life, I’ve cried three times because of the Phillies. The first was when I was 9 years old and Mike Schmidt announced his retirement. The next were tears of joy while hugging my father and wife after the Phillies became World Champions of Baseball.

    Yesterday, I quietly cried after hearing of Harry’s passing, as I’m sure many other people did. He brought so many wonderful moments to life for me and my family and I felt sorrow because the voice of the Phillies will no longer be heard and that my children will miss out on all of the wonderful moments that Harry brought to us. It is a sad day for millions of people that Harry touched. He will be deeply missed.

    My thoughts are with his family and friends in this difficult time.

     
  • Posts: 0 It Hurts

    Hurts worse than an Andy Ashby opening day start.
    Hurts worse than a blown Jose Mesa save.
    Hurts worse than an Adam Eaton start.
    Hurts worse than watching “the bat” leave town.
    Hurts worse than Joe Carter rounding first base.
    It just hurts.
    Harry Kalas “you are the man!”

     
  • Posts: 0 NateB

    Yes you are the man Harry! Thanks for everything. You will always be missed.

     
  • Posts: 0 bob

    I received the news in my office right down the road from Nationals Park, it confirmed what I feared that Harry was gone. I was fortunate enough to meet the man before last September 3rd’s game in Washington. I am a born and bred Philadelphian and I can not fathom watching a home broadcast without that voice.

    I picked a couple flowers and placed them in the spot outside Nats park where my friend Tom and I met Harry. We talked baseball for 10 mins and even gave us a salute for our military service. He was a true class act.

    At the park you could see the hurt on the Phillies fans. After every HR, I shouted outta here! I truly believe that Harry and Whitey pushed those 3 balls over the fence for our beloved Phils yesterday.

    I sat in section 101 after the game for 30 mins, crying my eyes out and staring at the press box.

    Harry the K, YOU ARE THE MAN and you will never be forgotten. You are a true measure of what a man should be. Thank you for all the joy you have brought to my life.

    RIP.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    I keep coming back here… I’m trying to stay away but I keep getting sucked back into this discussion. I’ve been emailing back and forth with one of my very close friends; a lifelong Phillies fan ( he is 55 +/- 5 years old). It’s interesting because we are going through the stages of grief together. At first, we were both kind of numb… listening to yesterday’s game was EXTREMELY difficult and hearing the replay of Scott Franzke signing off left me teary eyed. It’s tough to envision Phillies baseball without Kalas. It’s going to be sad retreating to the car after a game to hear the replays, fully knowing that there’s going to be no “Watch this baby, wayyyyyy outta here’s” no matter how far the ball actually traveled.

    Now we’re kind of stuck feeling a bit angry… and I’m getting that from a few of the people on here, too. I got that from listening to Larry A yesterday, as well. The fact of the matter is our broadcast team is complete with HK. Without him, it’s clearly not. Larry A gives you that off the wall perspective, Franzke is the facilitator, Sarge is likeable and knowledgable and Harry was the cleanup guy… always saying what needed to be said in a way that kept you glued to the radio. You couldn’t turn off a game when HK was on the mic. That brings us to Wheeler… you could sense that each of those guys was emotional last night, except Wheels. Larry was angry… as you would expect him to be… he didn’t want to be in that booth. Franzke was an emotional trainwreck and Wheels was just himself. He just seems to lack genuineness… again, this is the anger speaking. Let me make one thing clear; I listen to almost every game. I don’t have Comcast so I listen. HK gave me all the visual that I needed. I always felt like it was a slap in the face when they decided to go with Kalas and Wheels… like he deserved better at that stage in his career. Wheels made a comment yesterday about Harry not being well received early in his broadcasting career and likened that situation to his own and that really made me mad… Wheels deserves no comparison to HK. And Justin nailed it… I don’t know if I’m going to be able to stand 9 innings of Wheels.

    GM-Carson, that is a great comment. One this is for sure, you couldn’t have picked anyone more GENIUNE than Harry.

     
  • Posts: 1650 Tim Malcolm

    Avatar of Tim Malcolm

    A comment about Wheels: I don’t think it’s fair for anyone to assume anything about Wheels’ disposition yesterday.

    We all have our thoughts about him as a broadcaster, and we all have heard things about his past with Harry. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t allow for us to shoot arrows at him for our perception of how he acted.

    When I watched the telecast at the open, I saw Wheels seemed pretty affected by all of it. People deal with death in different ways. It’s more than possible Wheels was trying to hide his true emotions by talking, playing his regular role and keeping straight. Andersen is an emotional creature by nature. He wears his heart on his sleeve. Wheels is passionate about the team itself. It’s probably what he lives for. I’m sure there’s a special place in his heart for Harry.

    This is not the time nor the place to pile on about Wheels. It’s not fair to him. Yes, it’s possible he didn’t care yesterday. But who are we to determine that?

    Let’s please not talk about Wheels in that respect. And let’s not predict the future of the broadcasting team just now. It’s not respectful to Harry.

    Thanks.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    I completely agree with you Tim… I didn’t mean to go down that road but that’s how things went in conversation between me and my long-time colleage. You can delete that comment if you feel that is appropriate. Again, I am absolutely sure that Wheels felt worse than anyone on here… they worked side by side… you’re right, everyone deals with death differently. I’m not trying to say that… I don’t really know what I’m trying to say other than how I feel.

     
  • Posts: 0 Roose13

    This was the third time I cried for the death of someone I didn’t even know (LeRoi Moore of DMB and Reggie White were the formers). I have been following Phillies baseball for 15 years now and I was devestated yesterday afternoon.

    Thank you so much Harry the K. Everytime I see Howard or Utley hit a deep shot to right field, “it’s outta here” will ring in my ears forever.

    http://philliesprofets.blogspot.com/2009/04/harry-kalas-1936-2009.html

     
  • Posts: 0 Tom G

    Harry Kalas…The Greatest Phillie of All-time…

    “two out pitch, a Long Career, high above home plate…and HARRY KALAS, is Outa…heeer”

    Rest in peace…Jesus, finally has his announcer to go with the team!

    we love you Harry!

     
  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    To GM-Carson… Really? Personally, besides my deceased mother, I can think of many, many historical greats in all fields of endeavor that I would love to chat with over “dinner”. It’s out of pure fascination and curiosity with many questions to ask.

    Oh..to avoid repeating the sentiments (some of it rather maudlin) of so many others here for Harry Kalas, I’ll simply offer my condolences to the Kalas family. Having followed the Phillies for over 50 years, I had the privilege of hearing outstanding Phillies’ broadcasters (mostly on radio) such as By Saam, Gene Kelly, Bill Campbell and of course, Whitey Ashburn and Kalas which today’s young generation most identified with. Kalas obviously will be missed. How can it be otherwise after the longest tenure of any Phillies broadcaster; nearly 40 years!

    I appreciated Harry’s old school style of broadcasting which is simply calling the game as played on the field and not tossing in tidbits that are irrelevant to the game. Of course, there are those precious moments when Harry played the straight man to his partner and close friend, Whitey Ashburn and his folksy and humorous quips. Those kind of distractions I don’t mind.

    Rest in peace, Harry.

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Anyone that thinks or says that Wheels didn’t care is just being ignorant..

    TV brodcasting is much different than Radio, on camera (as bad as it sounds) you have to act like a professional.. the players were having a good time trying to play hard and have fun like Harry would have wanted them to..

    Wheels was doing his job as Harry would have wanted him to.

    They brought Tom McCarthy in to one day take over for Harry.. that day has come sooner than we all expected..

     
  • Posts: 0 Justin Evans

    Yesterday afternoon, I came online to write my recap of the Phillies come-from-behind victory on Easter Sunday. Little did I know that at that same moment I’d receive a text message regarding Harry Kalas being rushed to the hospital. Shortly there after, I received another text message that confirmed that he had left us.

    I really wanted to put down all of my initials feelings regarding this horrible event, but I just couldn’t. Every time I tried to write, I would just delete it, nothing seemed perfect enough to describe what Harry Kalas meant to us as Phillies fans.

    Harry Kalas was everything about the Phillies. He was everything about Philadelphia. He had been the heart and soul of this franchise my entire life, and for even much of my father’s life. See, our generation tends to take baseball announcers for granted with the adaptation of television. We as kids were generally always able to see the Phils play via a television. As much as Harry meant to us, he will always mean more to our fathers and their fathers. Kalas’ dramatic voice always set the stage for a radio as if they were listening to a musical masterpiece. His deep, baratone voice called some of the greatest hits and pitches in Philadelphia and Major League Baseball history. He was baseball in Philadelphia.

    From Michael Jack Schmidt to Bobby Abreu to Chase Utley and from Dallas Greene to Terry Francona to Charlie Manuel, there had always been one constant in Philadelphia: Harry Kalas. The man was Philadelphia baseball. The man was something different than life. His voice was the one that healed us when everything else in the world seemed bad from April to October.

    When I was a child I didn’t wake up every morning looking forward to watching some random cartoon. I woke up waiting for the night broadcast of the Phillies game. I woke up waiting for the voice of Harry Kalas. Baseball is in my blood and many others in the Delaware Valley. Baseball was hope. Harry Kalas was the man who called the greatest pitch of my life.

    Nothing and two the count to Hinske. Fans on their feet. Rally towels are being waved. Brad Lidge stretches. The 0-2 pitch. Swing and a miss! Struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball. Brad Lidge does it again and stays perfect for 2008 season. 48 for 48 in save opportunities for the 2008 season. 48 for 48 in save opportunities and watch this city celebrate.
    Maybe 2008 was more of fate than anything else. Harry Kalas finally reached the grandest stage and he was able to make the greatest call of his live and many of our own.

    Baseball is and always will be America’s past time. Harry Kalas will always be one of the greatest and most articulate at describing the game we love most. Yesterday, we lost one of the greatest people to ever grace the city of Philadelphia.

     
  • Posts: 1650 Tim Malcolm

    Avatar of Tim Malcolm

    Well, I understand where you’re coming from. I think a lot of fans look at Wheels more as someone who cheated his way into a treasured spot (being a guy who talks baseball to us every night with Harry) than someone who has earned the keep. Add in his somewhat nasaly voice and homeristic tendencies, and a lot of people don’t favor him. (It’s sort of the same pseudo backlash people feel toward Ruben, though that was tempered because Gillick bowed out on his own terms and the Phils are champions.)

    And when this happens, people almost hope to find a disingenuous disposition from him. Feelings overcome thought sometimes.

    It’s understandable. It goes part and parcel with the psychology of the Philadelphia sports fan.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phillies Fan

    My wife and I moved to the Philadelphia area about 3 years ago, and we weren’t baseball fans at all. Then in 2007, we started watching the Phillies play and just got hooked. One of the things I loved most about watching the Phils play was listening to Harry call the game. He always made it feel like he was over at your house, not so much calling the game as having a conversation with you about it. He had that rarest of gifts- always remaining professional, but never leaving any doubt about who he wanted to win the game.

    I don’t have a tenth of the memories that most here have of Harry- I never heard he and Richie Ashburn together, I didn’t grow up listening to him, I never met him face to face. But I’m glad to have had the privilege of hearing him call that final slider to win the World Series, hearing him say “Chase Utley, you are the man,” and just enjoying his passion for the game.

    RIP, Harry. You will be missed.

     
  • Posts: 0 BurrGundy

    A beautiful, heartfelt eulogy to a great voice, a great fan and a great person — Harry Kalas. He will be remembered and missed.

     
  • Posts: 0 DHall

    Wow…this has really hit me hard. As a 39 year old who grew up in Delaware County and listens (or watches) every Phillies game, I am shocked and very saddened by Harry’s passing. Harry is like a friend who we invite over to our house every night for 6 months a year and then all of a sudden stops coming. To think that my living room will never be filled with Harry’s voice again is almost unbearable. We love you Harry and will always remember you! God Bless.

     
  • Posts: 0 Mark

    1 single line describes Harry best, World Phucking Champion!

     
 
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