R.I.P. Harry Kalas

 

The Voice Of the Philadelphia Phillies.......we miss you, Harry

The Voice Of the Philadelphia Phillies.......we'll miss you, Harry

If you grew up in Philly within the past 40 years, then his distinct smooth baritone is familiar to you; indeed, if you’ve listened to a football broadcast on the radio in this country or watched any number of NFL Films videos, or even seen an Ace Hardware commercial in the last 20+ years, then you know the voice……it belonged to the great Harry Kalas, who was found collapsed in the Phillies broadcasting booth earlier today and was later pronounced dead at the age of 73.  His booming voice and wry sense of humor narrated the tale of woe that has been Phillies baseball for almost a half century (last year and 1980 withstanding) and as such, he became a Philadelphia icon, as readily identified with the city as cheesesteaks and the Liberty Bell are.  He was such a big part of the summer that nearly everyone had a Kalas impersonation and would regularly shout out his most famous moments: the call of Mike Schmidt’s 500 home run, where the glee that could be heard in Kalas’ voice made you instantly picture him jumping up and down as excitedly as a 10 year old;  the ’83 loss in the Series to the Orioles, the NL Pennant in ’93, and of course, the Series win from last year, where Harry jubilantly punctuated Brad Lidge’s save by pronouncing the Phillies as “the 2008 World Champions of baseball”.  The denial of his being able to call the ’80 World Series win over the Royals due to some stupid, archaic rule has to rank among the biggest blunders in the city’s and the Phillies’ history, how do you not have that voice on record to note the franchise’s first championship in their near century of existence?   Face it: “Outta here” is a part of the fabric of the Philadelphia summer now; to imagine that voice not echoing off into many summer afternoons and evenings is mind numbing to even begin to contemplate.  He was a straight shooter, taking the Phils to task when they needed to be, as well as giving out praise and support in a way that was at once professional and hometown-tinged.  He loved the Phils, even in their crappiest incarnations, and that just made the Phils’ faithful love him that much more.  Today is a sad day everywhere, but even more so in Philadelphia, where the baseball broadcasts on televison and radio will never, ever be the same.  Rest In Peace, Harry.

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~ by darrylthewriter on April 13, 2009.

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