Kalas Remembered

There has been enormous reaction regarding Harry Kalas‘ death today.

Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt: “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.”

Rockies broadcaster Jeff Kingery: “I saw him yesterday. We were walking out and we said the usual. We always mean it when we say safe travels to one another. We said we were looking forward to seeing each other again in August when the Rockies got to Philadelphia. You mean all that but certainly when something happens like this it brings it home.”

Rockies broadcaster Jeff Corrigan: “One of the things I will always remember is Harry with that unique voice of his would sometimes drag out a guy’s name. When I think of Harry Kalas, first thing I think of is Mickey Moooooorannnndiiiiiiinii. He would make Morandini take about 10 seconds to be said.”

Cubs broadcaster Pat Huges, who produced a Kalas highlight CD: “I just loved the guy. He was somebody I admired as a young man growing up trying to get into the business. I was struck by his voice and how clear and strong it was. Then I realized beyond that, he was really a great announcer. He knew what he was talking about. … He could build the drama in a game. I loved his call of Mike Schmidt’s 500th home run. I loved hearing him do the voiceovers on NFL Films. It was a voice I never got tired of hearing. Everytime I heard it, it sounded fresh and vibrant and good.”

Braves broadcaster Chip Caray: “The thing that makes broadcasters unique is the richness of their voice and their passion for the game. Harry had both of those. When you think of the greatest ambassadors of the game, Harry was certainly one of those guys.  The passion he had while calling games for Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski and so many other great Phillies players was a real inspiration for young broadcasters, like myself. … When I think of Harry, I think of friendliness and class. When my dad died, he gave me a hug and a handshake that I’ll never forget.  He was truly a treasure. He was a mentor and a friend.  People will say that the game won’t be the same without him and it won’t.”

Phillies chairman Bill Giles: “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.”

Former Phillies first baseman John Kruk: “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.”
 
Former Phillies closer Mitch Williams: “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 OK. He is probably one of two announcers that you didn’t have to see to know who it was. He was the best.”

Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell: “He died with his boots on, so to speak. I think if you had a choice and God gave you the option, you would take that option.”

Broadcaster Bob Costas: “Obviously he’s going to be remembered as the successor to John Facenda, the voice of NFL Films and as so many of the greatest local announcers become, he was more than just admired for his craft, he was a beloved institution in Philadelphia.  I think this is generally true, in an era where players, even great players, come and go the real fixture in baseball is often the local radio voice. That’s the person that links generations to each other that people can say they grew up listening to. Richie Ashburn passed away not too long ago, and now Harry Kalas and you’d have to be, and I’m not saying I would understand this fully but I understand the idea of it from St. Louis or the voices I grew up listening to in New York, people in Philadelphia feel a personal sense of loss right now.  This is a voice that took them from childhood into adulthood through passages in their life, things change a lot, but you continue to follow your club, the personnel of the club, turns over from generation to generation, Harry Kalas is always calling the game, so this is a civic loss when someone like that passes away.”

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10 Comments

The Phillies sent Kalas off in style with that 2008 Championship. He’ll be missed.

Jason
http://jmays.mlblogs.com

I have not stopped crying since I found out at the game today…had forgotten to look at my phone and didn’t know until right at 3pm when I saw it on the scoreboard…I just can’t believe it. I wrote a short tribute to Harry when I got home, but I am just at a loss for words now.

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/04/we_will_miss_you_harry.html

Jenn…What an awful way to find out!

I’ve been crying all day, too. Just when I think I’ve got it together, I hear someone from the media “lose it”, and I start all over again.

Gotta give props to the TV broadcast team today. Especially Tom McCarthy. He did most of the talking, and kept things appropriate, without being maudlin. I just couldn’t listen to L.A on the radio. It broke my heart when he told the “High Hopes” story before the game.

Comcast Sportsnet replayed yesterday’s win against the Rockies and I watched the last couple of innings, just to listen to Harry. His call of Stairs’ HR was as classic and enthusiastic as ever. He loved the game so, and it was evident every day. The voice of my baseball memories is gone.

I remember when Bill Giles hired Harry and fired Bill Campbell years ago. I was so annoyed and couldn’t put it down for years and then realized that we have a gem here. I grew to love this guy as we all did and now, I can’t put this out of my mind. I remember other people I knew personally pass away and not get this emotional.
We all have Harry stories. I won’t tell mine today. I’ll just try to calm down. Even my grandson asked me why I was upset so I told him and pulled out my yearbook from the 1971 season to show him Harry’s picture and then we counted backward from 2009 to 1971. As young as he is, he said it was a long time.

The Phils will still be playing and I’ll still be excited when they win and bummed when they lose but it will never, ever be the same without Harry on the call. We will dearly miss him.

I was watching Michael Barkann after the Phils game for their tribute. He could barely keep his composure at the start of the broadcast (which in turn made me cry). It was however very comforting hearing everyone reminiscing about Harry.

Glad the Phils were able to pull out a win yesterday and how appropriate it was that Moyer received his first win of the season.

Also how cool for “The Big Man” to get his first HR of the season yesterday.

I was listening to ESPN radio this morning, and they played another great Harry call. Chase’s walk-off single to score Iguchi, and complete a 4 game sweep of the Mets, in ‘o7. A full count. Off Wagner……..

“Line drive hit to right field! Here comes Iguchi! The throw to the plate…..safe! (Sarge freaking out in the background!) No way! 11-10 on an rbi single by Chase Utley!”

Another Harry classic!

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