So Long, Harry Kalas

by Dan Aspan
Special to iVoryTowerz

Philadelphia and the sports world are in mourning this week after the sudden death of Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas at the age of 73. Just today (April 15) the Philadelphia Phillies announced a number of special memorials and tributes to the broadcaster who had provided play-by-play of Phillies games for more than 38 years.

Earlier this week in Washington, D.C., Kalas collapsed of a heart attack in the broadcast booth at Nationals Park just hours before the Phillies played the Nationals in their opening home game of the 2009 baseball season.

For anyone who is a baseball fan, especially a Phillies fan, as this author is, this is a sad time. I remember watching the Phillies on television as a kid, always waiting to hear that legendary home run call that Kalas made famous. Kalas clearly loved the Phillies organization and spent his life representing the team through his voice. (Kalas also became the primary announcer for NFL Films in 1977, and he called baseball and football on both radio and television through his career.) But he was more than just a Phillies broadcaster. He was a man who changed the way the game was called through his enthusiasm, his love of the game, and his dedication to detail. He is among the all time greats of broadcasting with Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray, and Vin Scully.

Although this is a sad time for the Phillies organization, players, and fans, there is a silver lining. For the first time in almost 30 years, the Phillies won the 2008 World Series, and Kalas spent some of his last days in the booth calling games that were part of that championship. That must have been a highlight in his distinguished career. For those who don’t follow sports and who are unaware of Kalas’ contribution to the game of baseball, his passing may remain unmarked. But for baseball and sports fans everywhere, our personal flags will fly at half staff, as we remember one of the greatest voices in sports history.

(To see a video report from the Associated Press about Kalas' death, please check below.)

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Suzie said...

I'm definitely sad about Kalas. As I was growing up, I've always associated Kalas' voice with baseball. It's going to be weird to hear anyone else's voice.

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