The Loss of a Legend: Harry Kalas, 1936-2008

Dave Turner@DturnersportsContributor IApril 14, 2009

A voice like none other. Deep, strong, passionate, yet still so soothing. That was Harry Kalas. With his passing, we have lost one of the most memorable voices in sports. Whether it was hearing him call the Phillies or work on NFL Films, he was simply spectacular.  

"It was natural," lifelong Phillies fan Anthony Natale said. "As if he was supposed to be there, not only announcing the game but giving every detail of the game, as if explaining a story. You needed to hear Harry Kalas to make it a Phillies game. For me, listening to Harry Kalas was part of the game."  

His career was brilliant. Kalas was hired in 1971 by the Phillies after spending six seasons with the Houston Astros. He remained with the Phillies from that point on. Kalas made the call when the Phillies won it all in 1980, and, of course, was right there when Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske to give the Phillies the World Series win this past fall.  

Over five decades of play-by-play work allowed him to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002, the only fitting way to honor such a man.  

In 1975, Kallas began working for NFL Films. Kalas is best known for his narration of the season highlight films, as well as his work on HBO's Inside the NFL. He gained much of his national notoriety through his work with the NFL.  

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Kalas also did work narrating commercials for Campbells, GMC Trucks, and also narrated Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl since 2005. Whatever Kalas lent his voice to became instantly captivating.  

If your NFL team has won a Super Bowl over the years, then it is the voice of Harry Kalas that booms from your TV when you put in the championship DVD that NFL Films produces every year. There is perhaps no voice more fitting to hear, as he so beautifully depicted all the joy and jubilation of the win.  

While Harry himself will be greatly missed by many, his smooth, baritone voice will always be alive in the hearts of the millions that he has enchanted. For many, this call serves as perhaps his most memorable:

"One strike away; nothing-and-two, the count to Hinske. Fans on the their feet; rally towels are being waved. Brad Lidge stretches. The 0-2 pitch—swing and a miss, struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball!

Brad Lidge does it again and stays perfect for the 2008 season! Forty-eight-for-48 in save opportunities, and watch the city celebrate! Don't let the 48-hour wait diminish the euphoria of this moment, and the celebration. And it has been 28 years since the Phillies have enjoyed a World Championship; 25 years in this city with a team that has enjoyed a World Championship, and the fans are ready to celebrate. What a night! Phils winning 4-3!"

What a man, what a voice, what a career.