Remembering Harry Kalas


There are certain moments in our lives that we can’t forget no matter how hard we try. That holds true for the happiest of moments and for the most somber moments as well. Many of us still remember where we were on April 13th five years ago today.

On that day we were preparing to enjoy a Phillies vs. Nationals tilt that took a backseat to the passing of a legend.

The Phillies, baseball and the world lost one of its greatest voices when Harry Kalas passed away. The legendary Phillies broadcaster was preparing to call a game when he passed out in the broadcast booth. Since that day, Phillies baseball just has not sounded quite the same.

Harry Kalas (credit: Philadelphia Phillies)

Harry Kalas (credit: Philadelphia Phillies)

Kalas held the position as the Phillies’ play-by-play commentator from 1971 until his passing. He also was one of the most recognizable voices for the famed NFL Films.

His early years with the Phillies were characterized by his work in the booth with former Phillie, Richie Ashburn. Harry and Whitey are still to do this day viewed as an iconic booth tandem.

Kalas was the voice of a number of amazing moments in Phillies history. In his career he called six no-hitters, six National League Championships, and three World Series. Due to broadcasting rules he was not permitted to call the 1980 World Series and the rule was changed soon thereafter due to the atrocity.

Kalas got redemption when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008 when he and Chris Wheeler emphatically celebrated the victory in the booth. It made for one of the most special moments in the team’s broadcasting history. Kalas threw out the first pitch the following year when the team received their rings. That would sadly go down as Kalas’ final home game. When the Phillies visited the White House to celebrate their title just over a month after Kalas’ death, President Obama paid tribute to Kalas in his speech.

Sometimes it isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it.

Kalas’ legend lives on in his iconic “Outta Here,” homerun call. It has been said by many others since but no one will ever call Chase Utley “The Man,” quite like Kalas. “J-Roll,” will never roll off another tongue quite the way it did when Kalas said it. Kalas turned “Michael Jack Schmidt,” into the cool way to say the name of the Phillies’ greatest player. It’s safe to say “High Hopes,” just doesn’t sound the same when sung by someone else.

Sometimes we take for granted the voices that deliver us sports. However, when we think back to the sports memories that stick with us for our lives, there is a voice delivering us that memory. It is special to get to hear Kalas’ voice when you remember the last time the Phillies were the “World Champions of Baseball!” As those memories live on, so to will that voice.

RIP Harry Kalas


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Posted on April 13, 2014, in Phillies, Ray Boyd and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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