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Harry Kalas, Phillies Broadcaster - Dead at 73
Harry Kalis, the beloved voice of the Philadelphia Phillies, passed away suddenly, Monday April 13, 2009. Shocked baseball fans were saddened by his passing. He passed away in the broadcast booth, preparing for the Phillies came against the Washington Nationals. The game was an away game for the Phillies, which they won despite Kalas' passing, or maybe even because of it as a tribute to their beloved announcer. Phil's won 9-8.
Stunned players and fans of both the Phillies and of Kalas felt the same sentiment expressed by Phil's President, David Montgomery "the voice of the Phil's died today"
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday April 18, at 1:00 pm. The doors will be opened for the fans from 8:00 am - 12:45 pm.
Beginning on Friday, April 17, when the Phillies next play, a five minute video highlight tribute will be presented. The tribute will be repeated on Saturday, the 18th during the Memorial which will occur on the field. The broadcasting booth will also be renamed in Kalis' honor. His three sons are to throw out the first pitch.
Even though Kalas' contract was up this year, the Phillies organization informed him he had a job with them for as long as he wanted . He spent 38 years with the franchise and stated in a television interview that he had no plans to retire.
Friday, May 15 Today is the scheduled make up day for the Phillies to celebrate their World Championship win with the President at the White House. Originally scheduled for April 14, the Phils cancelled the meeting after Harry K's unexpected death.
They begin a 4-game series with the Washington Nationals Friday night and will meet with President Obama during the day.
Area news stations like ABC 6, will cover the meeting at Noon and will stream live video online.
See Harry K in his last commercial this weekend! Shown in local areas of Philly, Scranton and Harrisburg only, Harry K's voice will be aired one more time in a commercial being released by J&J Snacks, a local pretzel distributor. The times are 3:40 on Saturday May 2, and 1:35 on Sunday, May 3.
Harry's last commercial will air when the Phillies play the Mets, the weekend of May 2&3. NBC's television station in Philly has the details as do other Philly news sources. (See below)
If you miss the airing, J&J Snacks will air the commercial on their site after Sunday's game at their site: www.superpretzel.com The commercial was originally produced one month before Harry Kalis' death.
"AS COMFORTING AS A SOFT PRETZEL OR CHEESESTEAK"
Philly natives cherish their pretzels and cheesesteaks, so its a complement to compare Harry Kalis in such a way. Without a doubt he is as much a tradition to Philly baseball as are the cheesesteak and soft pretzel. His famous calls "that ball is outta HERE . . . " and "STRUCK HIM OUT!" will be remembered by all who listened to him call the Phillies games.
Jimmy Rollins stated that his famous voice was not a "TV VOICE" . His natural speaking voice was the same as his broadcasting voice.
He was also known for being kind and very approachable when fans asked him for his autograph or for his picture. His sense of humor and smile was appreciated by his co-workers and by the Phillies players and fans. He frequently sang his favorite High Hopes!
Listening to the game will never be the same, it will always seem as though something is missing without his unmatchable voice.
KALAS' DECLINING HEALTH was quite evident to on-lookers the past couple of baseball seasons. He had surgery a short time ago, but the details of his illness were undisclosed.
The latest information from the Washington, DC Medical Examiner's autopsy result, is that the cause of death was heart disease.
Harry Kalas leaves behind his wife Eileen and sons Payne, Todd and Brad. Although his wife could not be reached for comment, a family spokesman said she was in shock and of course deeply grieved. She did want him to mention that Harry died doing what he loved. Many have expressed that it was fitting he was in the broadcast booth when he was found unconscious. He mentioned many times that he loved the Phillies and he loved baseball.
The Washington Nationals offered a moment of silence in his behalf before the game April 13. He was called the heart and soul of baseball. As news about his death spreads, growing accolades and memories are being reported on in the Philadelphia Tri-State area.
His last call was Sunday night in the Phillies game against Colarado. He called the '93 championship came along with of course the 2008 game.
- MLB's article about Phillies Meeting President Obama
This links to MLB's coverage of Phillies meeting the President, Friday May 15.
Harry Kalis was voted to the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 2002. He played baseball in high school but knew he would never be good enough to play professionally, so he decided a career in broadcasting would be the next best thing.
Harry recently received his world series ring along with the rest of the 2008 World Champions, Philadelphia Phillies. He was named broadcaster of the year 18 times.
He was to travel to the White House to meet President Obama on Tuesday, April 14, but due to his passing, the Phillies have postponed the trip.
- The Official Site of The Philadelphia Phillies
The homepage of the Phillies carries a tribute to its beloved announcer.
I'm sure I'm not the only female fan of baseball. Just as I'm sure there will be plenty who felt his gentle nature and voice made baseball even more enjoyable.When he was excited it made the game that much more enjoyable. He called all 500 or so Mike Schmidt home runs. That was round the time I began watching baseball and found him so entertaining and skilled in the game of baseball.
I remember watching the 2008 world series on TV and being so disappointed that he was not broadcasting the game for the TV audience as I had heard him do so many times during the regular season play. It was a shame the major network did not view him as so many others did. True he still broadcast the game in a limited audience, but since I didn't have access to the channel, I could only hear him call the game on sports highlight coverage, after the fact.
I wonder who they will get to replace him, I can't imagine anyone having to follow after his amazing 38 year career with the Phils.
The Memorial Service
Will you attend or watch the Memorial Service for Harry K?
FINAL WRAP UP
As a closed white casket containing Harry K's remains sat behind home plate, fans who loved him passed before his casket at a rate of 25 per minute for more than 5 hours.
The Phillies estimate about 9,000 were in attendance for a Memorial ceremony that lasted a little less than 2 hours.
The attendees sat along the 1st base line and became emotional as the service closed playing the song Harry requested, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel.
Another touching moment came from Harry's son, Kane, who said, "My father loved this great city. He loved the Philadelphia Phillies. Most of all, he loved you fans"
Other speakers included the Governor and Mayor, ex-Phillie, Mike Schmidt and pitcher Jamie Moyer.
Immediately after the ceremony Harry Kalis was interred at Laurel Hill Cemetery, in Fairmount Park.
Harry's notes were found where he lie unconscious. He was preparing for what would have been his 6,163rd regular season game.
On-line Collection of Memories and Accomplishments
- Harry Kalis - A Final Tribute!
This is a special section dedicated to Harry Kalis' memory. His acheivments are accompanied by pictures and plenty of links