Saturday, April 13, 2013


Harry Kalas, longtime Phillies broadcaster, wa...
For me, the voice of Harry Kalas is what a Major League Baseball game is supposed to sound like.  As a kid growing up in the mid-to-late '70s, just starting to learn the Grand Old Game and its rich history, Harry and his Whiteness, Richie Ashburn, were my teachers as well as my fellow Phillies fans.  In the days before every sports broadcaster mimicked the ridiculously hyperbolic ESPN SportsCenter style or did their damnedest to look and sound just like Bob Costas (looking at you, Joe Buck), Kalas stood out among his peers not because he constantly drew attention to himself, but rather because he was clearly a fan who enjoyed the game as much as the fan sitting at home watching or listening to him. He just happened to be a fan blessed with one of the most fantastic voices in broadcasting history.

There was probably no one better suited than Harry to be behind the mike through those many years of awful Phillies teams in the mid-‘70s and late-‘80s.  Somehow he made us feel with each new season – with each new game – that this collection of ragtags and oddballs really could just possibly win. And when they did, no one was happier than Harry. To hear him transform from measured professional play-by-play announcer to overly excited fan as a particularly remarkable play unfolded, you could not help but be swept along for the ride. Harry’s voice would rise sharply in both pitch and volume when reciting his famous home run calls: “Long drive! Deep right center field! Way, way back! It’s outta heeeeeere!”  He became the neighborhood boy on the pick-up field trash-talking the opposing team when one of their batters was whiffed: “Struh-Keem-Out!”  And, he was the grandfather figure to many a fan in his later years, happily crooning his wobbly versions of “High Hopes” in an effort to lift the Phillies to one more win.

It's hard to believe today marks 4 years since we lost Harry, shortly before a game against the Washington Nationals.  There was no one like him, and he is deeply missed.

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