Written by Erin
2008 was a Banner year for Philadelphians. After 28 years of “almost there” and trying to repeat a World Series, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays to become the 2008 World Champions of Baseball. This exciting achievement, though very meaningful to the players, was the culmination of nearly four roller coaster ride decades in the career of one Phillies legend, Hall-of-Fame announcer Harry Kalas. Through twists and turns, bitter disappointment and elated celebration, it was Kalas’s voice that spoke, inspiring ‘high hopes’ when hope was lost. Now today, April 13, 2009, Kalas’ voice is no longer heard. Instead, what fills Citizens Bank Park is a haunting silence that tells of grief, loss and the end of an era.
At age 73, Harry Kalas still had a few calls left in him. He traveled with the Phillies to Washington D.C. to face the Washington Nationals (business as usual). He was in the press box, preparing to announce the game when he fell ill. CPR was attempted but not successful and Kalas was rushed to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead. He never got to call that game.
Those who are not from Philadelphia may wonder what all the fuss about a deceased announcer is all about. But Harry Kalas was more than just a sports announcer, he was the heart and soul of an American baseball franchise. He was as much a part of the city as Cheesesteaks and City Hall. He was a staple, a familiar voice, a childhood memory.
Bud Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball said “Baseball announcers have a special bond with their audience, and Harry represented the best of baseball not only to the fans of the Phillies, but to fans everywhere.” Harry Kalas truly was the best of baseball and so it is with deepest sympathy that we say “goodbye.”
Here’s to you , Harry! You’re “Outta Here” but you went down swinging!
Harry Kalas 1936-2009