A Farewell to Harry Kalas

April 30, 2009
By Anonymous

Harry Kalas was the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies for 38 years and he was the best broadcaster in history in my opinion. He had the best voice for a TV and radio broadcaster. His voice put smiles on everyone’s faces everyday, no matter how bad of a day they had. I want to tell you about him because this man had a big impact on my life, making it happier and more exciting.

Harry Kalas used his famous voice for many different reasons over the course of his 73-year long life, but he used his voice for the Phillies the longest. He’s very well-known for his home run call- “That ball is OUTTA HERE!!” He touched so many lives with that call and made us all very proud to be Phillies fans. He’s also talked about for calling Mike Schmidt’s 500th career home run- “There’s a drive deep to left-center field and its OUTTA HERE!! Number 500 for Michael Jack Schmidt!” And who could forget him calling the final out when the Phils won the World Series just 6 months ago- “Brad Lidge stretches… the 0-2 pitch SWING AND A MISS! STRUCK HIM OUT! THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES ARE 2008 WORLD CHAMPIONS OF BASEBALL!!” We Phillies fans have had some of the greatest moments of our lives spoken to us by what seems like could be the voice of a god. Harry was also the voice of NFL Films for a long time. Many people across the country heard him narrate some of the greatest moments in NFL history, and we Phillies fans are very proud to have had him as our announcer.

In 2002, Harry the K finally got what he deserved- an induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Ford C. Frick Award. The Ford C. Frick Award is an award that is given out once a year to a broadcaster who has given “major contributions to the game of baseball.” However, he also had a great impact on the Philadelphia fans. He always put the fans before everything else. He was a great person to be around and did so much for everyone he knew. He would record his voice for peoples’ voicemail box on their cell phones, he would never stop taking pictures and signing autographs for people, and he would always take time out of his dinner if he was out somewhere to talk to people who stopped and said hi. He was more than just a broadcaster for the Phillies- he was a friend to all the fans and a family member to the players and staff.

I even have my own claim to fame because of Harry. When my Mom was pregnant with me, her and my Dad went to a bar where they saw Harry with his wife and his son Kane. Harry saw that my Mom was pregnant, so he bought my Dad a beer in honor of me. I feel very happy and proud whenever I hear that story from my Dad.

However, on April 13, 2009, at 1:20 pm, this all ended. Harry was found unconscious in the broadcast booth in Nationals Stadium getting ready for the Phillies’ next game. He was rushed to George Washington Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. My Dad called me around this time to tell me this tragic news and I didn’t believe him. But he was right, Harry was dead.

That next Saturday, April 18, there was a public viewing and memorial service in Citizens Bank Park. They showed clips of his best moments on the big screen and we viewed his casket behind home plate. It was nice how we got to go on the warning track and outer turf area on the field. A lot of former Phillies and other well-known people came, including Darren Daulton, Larry Andersen, and Gary Maddox, and all current Phillies players and staff. At around 1:00 pm, they began the service. Many people spoke about him, including Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, current Phillies pitcher Jaime Moyer, president of the Phillies Dave Montgomery, owner of NFL Films Steve Sabol, and Harry’s son Kane Kalas. Also, a guy from Springfield spoke to represent the fans! His name was Joe O’Loughlin. At the end, everyone lined up in two rows and they passed the casket into the hurse, which is the car that carries the casket away. Then the hurse drove away and the ceremony was over. The ending was pretty emotional. We still couldn’t believe that we had just said goodbye to our dear friend Harry. Watching Phillies games on TV and listening on the radio will never be the same.

The author's comments:
This piece was about a man that was a TV/radio broadcaster for the Philadelphia Phillies, a Major League Baseball team in my area.

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