Where can I even begin? Harry Kalas is a Philadelphia legend, a Philadelphia hero, a Philadelphia monument. The Hall-of-Fame voice of the Phillies left us today after passing out in the Nationals Park broadcast booth shortly after noon. He was discovered by Phillies broadcast personnel and rushed to George Washington University Medical Center, in Washington, D.C., where he died at 1:20 PM.
Harry Kalas was the voice of summer, embedded into every Philadelphian from the time of their birth. The Phillies lost their voice today.
Kalas was loved by all for his unique voice and loving attitude. Here is some of the reaction from around the country today on the loss of a very special man:
DAVID MONTGOMERY (Phillies President and CEO): “There are no words to express the sadness that the entire Phillies organization is feeling with the news about Harry’s passing. 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.”
MIKE SCHMIDT (Phillies Hall-of-Fame third baseman) “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.”
BILL GILES (Phillies General Partner): “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.”
JOHN KRUK (Former Phillies first baseman): “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.”
MITCH WILLIAMS (Former Phillies closer): “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.”
MICHAEL BARKANN (7 time PA sportscaster of the year): “For nearly 40 years we had greatness at the microphone during Phillies games- not just a baseball Hall of Famer, but a people Hall of Famer. He died being where he loved to be and doing what he loved to do. I hope we’re all as lucky. To me… he was my friend from Wawa, filling up his 24 oz cup and talkin’ Phillies baseball. He was a treasure, and I’ll miss him.”
And many more to come…
Here is a tribute video that Comcast SportsNet put together today, in Harry’s honor. I invite you to watch it, it brings back incredible memories and is very well done. Click here to see it.
It stings to write these words: Harry Kalas is dead at 73. Please feel free to share your memories, stories, and condolences for this great man in the comment thread below. We’ll miss ya Harry!