Top Moment #6: Harry Kalas Passes Away in the Broadcast Booth in Washington
This isn’t a top moment because of a particular play in the field or a tremendous home run hit, but because of the passing of a legendary figure. If we voted on Worst Moments in Phillies History, this would certainly be at, or near, the top. It makes this list because of the magnitude of such a loss; one that had a lasting impact on the 2009 season. It isn’t a particularly joyous occasion, but it deserves its spot here as this list tries to tell the story of the past year.
Harry Norbert Kalas was born a broadcaster. His soothing delivery became epic upon excitement; it was something you waited for and when it happened, it made the play that much more special. Whether it was a “long drive, deep center field” or a “great diving stop”, or even the occasional “6-4-3 twin-killing”, Harry Kalas allowed for the game of baseball to be thoroughly enjoyed. It mattered not that you were five or 95 years of age; he connected generations with that smooth baritone voice. There isn’t a Phils fan on Earth that hasn’t shared a drink with Harry Kalas, either through the transistor, or more recently, the flat screen. There isn’t a Phillies fan on Earth that didn’t shed a tear on that somber spring afternoon.
On April 13, 2009, as HK prepared for another day at the park, his big heart gave way, and he was called up to the stadium in the sky. The Phillies would still play that day against the Nationals, pulling out a 9-8 victory with heavy hearts. But the game meant very little other than a win for the standings. It meant nothing it all because the voice of the team for nearly four decades would no longer raise his voice in celebration as the Fightin’ Phils scraped and clawed their way to victory.
This is certainly a day no Phillies fan will ever forget. Still, it’s good to know we can all take joy in the fact that HK finally got to call a World Series clincher. He also died in the place where he’d made so many memories – the booth, getting ready to call another game. I’m sure he’s busy right now hanging with Whitey, smoking stogies, taking pleasure in yet another baseball game.