It is a sad day, not only for all Phillies fans, but for all the sports world. Harry Kalas, 73, passed away today.
Kalas was the broadcast voice of the Philadelphia Phillies since 1971. His distinct voice was recognizable by any sports fan throughout the country. Besides announcing Phillies games, he has also worked as the voice of NFL Films and numerous commercials, including most recently the Chunky Soup commercials.
Kalas had the opportunity to announce some great sports moments. He announced six no-hitters, all of Steve Carlton’s starts, Pete Rose breaking Stan Musial’s National League hits record, Michael Jack Schmidt’s 500th career home run, the Phillies clinching the NL East and National League Pennant in 1993, and more recently the Phillies clinching the NL East title in 2007 and 2008 and the 2008 World Series.
For me he was more than just the announcer of the games. He was my link to the Phillies.
If I was stuck in a car or unable to get to a TV, he was my eyes and ears through the radio. I can remember often as a kid a Phillies West Coast trip would have them playing well past my bedtime. I would hide a radio in my bed and plug in earphones. I could listen to the games without my parents ever knowing I was still awake. During the Phillies’ half innings, I would wait, hoping to hear Harry’s signature, “That ball is OUTTA HERE!” home run call.
Obviously, throughout the 90’s there were many lean years in Philadelphia. Whether the Phillies won 90 games or lost 90 games in a season, Kalas never lost his enthusiasm for the game. If you were tuning in for a game in August and the Phillies were already eliminated from playoff contention, you would never hear it in his voice.
Thankfully, in 2008, he finally got to announce the final out in a Philadelphia World Series victory.