April 13, 2009

Phillies Voice -- Harry Kalas -- Dies at 73

Received this email from the Phillies this afternoon:

Hall of Fame PHILLIES Broadcaster Harry Kalas DIES AT THE AGE OF 73

Hall of Fame Phillies Broadcaster Harry Kalas died today at the age of 73. Mr. Kalas was found unconscious in the Phillies broadcast booth where he was preparing for today’s Washington Nationals home opener. He was taken to George Washington University Hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 1:20 p.m. Cause of death is unknown.

“There are no words to express the sadness that the entire Phillies organization is feeling with the news about Harry’s passing,” said Phillies President and CEO, David Montgomery. “Harry was the voice of the Phillies, but he was also our heart and soul. He loved our game and called it like none other. The entire baseball world has suffered a great loss today.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.


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For Phillies fans this is a sad day. He's been the voice of the Phillies since 1971 and a cornerstone of that organization for its fans.

Kalas is of the Vin Scully ilk. He had that tremendous voice with his "Outta here" call. One thing about Kalas was that he was also a great person toward the fans. He took pictures, signed autographs and even recorded outgoing voicemails for people.

The Phillies are still going to play the game today, although, they are not going to the White House tomorrow as scheduled.

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Update, 4:27 p.m.: Here are some quotes the Phillies have provided by some notable people associated with the Phillies and Philadelphia:

“Harry was a special friend of mine and my family for 44 years. Baseball broadcasters become an integral part of baseball fans’ families. They are in the homes of fans every day for the entire season. No one will ever be able to match the joy Harry and Richie Ashburn brought to our fans for all those years. He had a great voice, understood and loved the game, and loved people. That’s why I brought him here in 1971. My family and I and all of our fans will always have a place in our hearts for Harry.”

-Bill Giles


“I was saddened today to hear of the sudden passing of my longtime close friend Harry Kalas. I know I can speak for the Phillies when I say Harry Kalas was loved by everyone. All of us could relate to our daily confrontations with his smile, his charm, and his warmth. He spread his passion for people, and baseball, all over the country for almost 50 years. His voice will resonate in my mind the rest of my life. I will never be called ‘Michael Jack’ again without seeing his smile. I and my wife Donna pray for the entire Kalas family that they might find peace during this trying time.”

-Mike Schmidt


“It’s devastating. Harry Kalas IS the Phillies. The fans lost a friend and we [those who were fortunate enough to be able to spend time with him] lost more than that, we lost a family member.”

-John Kruk


“It was an honor to have Harry call ANY play I ever made. The fact that he called me Mitchy-poo on air… I didn’t want any one to know about that nickname, but somehow with Harry it was okay. He is probably one of two announcers that you didn’t have to see to know who it was. He was the best!”

-Mitch Williams



“I first got to know Harry when I was managing Spokane in the Pacific Coast League. He had started his career in Hawaii in the same league. He loved the game of baseball back then. When I got to Philadelphia, I learned first-hand how much he loved the Phillies and their fans. He was a great human being with a great voice. He will be sorely missed by millions of fans.”

-Danny Ozark


“We came up together. In my mind he WAS the Philadelphia Phillies. I’ve never heard a voice like his and I never will again. He was not only a great person, but a great friend.”

-Greg Luzinski


“I spent my whole baseball life listening to Harry. All the highlights … he had such a distinctive voice. He was a fan favorite and a favorite of all the players, too. He will be missed.”

-Greg Gross


"Harry was as good a colleague as any sportscaster could hope to have. He was easy to get along with and I certainly enjoyed my 26 years sharing the booth with Harry. When I joined the Phillies in 1976 I had been a sportscaster in Philadelphia doing Eagles and 76ers games, and although I had been a baseball fan since my youth, I had never really broadcast the game. Harry showed me the ropes like only he could. I am more than grateful and will miss him every day I am fortunate enough to remain on this earth.”

-Andy Musser


“For me, he was the voice that meant the Phillies. For me, baseball always brought you back to your youth. He spoke the language of your youth. Whether the Phillies were winning or losing you could hear the love of baseball and the love of the Phillies in Harry’s voice. It is a very sad day.”

-Jim Gardner, WPVI TV News Anchor

1 comment:

  1. Awesome voice, east coast version of Vin Scully. Rest in Peace Harry.

    ReplyDelete