Harry Kalas was perhaps the king in Philadelphia’s long pantheon of legendary announcers. Along with Kalas, Philadelphia has been home to voices like Merrill Reese, Gene Hart, Richie Ashburn, Bill Campbell and many more. But just a few hours before his latest Phillies game, Kalas was found unconscious at the press box in Washington. Not long after, Harry Kalas was pronounced dead at age 73.
Kalas was entering his 39’th year as the Phillies lead television and radio announcer. After his body was found by Phillies director of broadcasting Rob Brooks, Kalas was rushed to George Washington Hospital. The news of his death broke almost right after the news of Kalas’s initial hospitalization broke, taking Phillies fans –myself included — aback.
Harry Kalas is forever known for calls like “Outta here!” “Stuck him out!” “Michael Jack Schmidt!” his constant singing of “High Hopes” and much more in Philadelphia, and around the country. Kalas was also a prominent voice for NFL Films and Campbell’s Soup over the years.
Through the decades, Kalas forged a famed partnership with former Phillies legend Richie Ashburn. In 1997, Ashburn was found dead just after the Phillies played against the New York Mets. Now, Kalas is dead, and reunited with “Whitey” right before the Phillies are to play against Washington this afternoon.
Kalas, born in 1936, first worked with the Houston Astros in the mid-to-late 60’s, before joining the Phillies. He was the golden voice of the Phillies during their rise to power in the 70’s, and their World Series run in 1980 – although he was not allowed to call the championship celebration.
In 2002, Kalas went into the Baseball Hall of Fame as the Ford C. Frick Award winner. Then in 2008, Kalas got to broadcast the Phillies’ first World Series win since 1980 – and got to call the final out on the radio.
His call resonated and was replayed throughout Philadelphia in the months afterwards – which included the Opening Day 2009 celebrations last week, where Kalas threw the first ball on Opening Night.
Now, the World Series triumph will be looked back on as Harry’s last hurrah. Kalas’s last game overall was a come-from-behind win for the Phillies yesterday against Colorado.
During the off season, Kalas had to undergo surgery for a “minor medical procedure” that was not specified. It is unknown if that condition was responsible for his death, as the cause has not been determined yet.
The Phillies now have to cancel their scheduled trip to the White House tomorrow, while the home opener for the Washington Nationals today has a bit of an asterisk.
He is survived by his wife, Eileen, three children, and the city of Philadelphia.
Phillies.com- “Phils broadcaster Kalas passes away” philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/news/article.jsp
Baseball Hall of Fame- “2002 Ford C. Frick Award Winner Harry Kalas” www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers/frick/kalas_harry.jsp
Delware County Daily Times- “A final interview: Harry Kalas is gone” www.delcotimes.com/articles/2009/04/13/news/doc49e38078e6bfc307110659.txt