Monday, April 13, 2009


"THAT BALL IS OUTTA HERE!!!"... Harry Kalas, Hall of Fame Baseball Broadcaster

If you know Philly ... or like me were born and raised understand that it's a tough town. We have some self-esteem issues.

You can't trash us, but we've elevated inferiority to a high art form.

We need instant validation. We demand it from our sports teams.

In October ,2008. the Philadelphia Phillies were hailed as World Champions. A few nights ago when Fightin' Phils were losing in the early innings of the home opener, our world renowned, Philly sports fans began booing their champions. In other places, bringing home a World Series trophy buys you a few seasons of tacit respect.

Not here.

Yet, for 38 seasons, a community that doesn't always embrace strangers had a love affair with a friendly,exuberant transplant from Napierville, Illinois by way of Iowa and Hawaii. His Midwestern twang and luxe, baritone voice was one of the sweetest sounds that a Philadelphia baseball fan could ever hear.

From 1971, until his sad and surprising death this afternoon, Harry Kalas was the official, beloved and celebrated voice of the Philadelphia Phillies. For 38 years, in all of our pettiness and pique ,while we demanded that players be traded, coaches be fired and umpires be assaulted, we loved Harry the K.So did the players.So did his peers, who bestowed upon him the highest honor of his profession. In 2002, he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Harry's voice was the sound of baseball in Philadelphia.

It penetrated the heavy, humid air of a summer night in Mayfair from a portable TV on the next porch over. You could hear it blast from a boom box on the boardwalk as crisp winds heralded the last days of summer at the Jersey Shore. It cut through he static of the old AM radio in the tollbooth as you crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge.

It was as recognizable as the crack of a bat, and often evoked the same emotions.

He voiced football highlights for NFL Films and national commercials. Yet, from his
position in the broadcast booth, he brought home the truth and the texture of the greatest moments in Phillies baseball At 73, he was in top, professional form.

We will miss his unique capture of the emphatic moments in the bottom of the ninth, the high velocity action when everything rests on a single play, or the simple, civil,pleasure of a Sunday afternoon at the ball park.

Here is the Associated Press account of his death

Twice in his tenure the Philles won the World Series. network rules kept him away from the mic in 1980. 2008 offered Harry Kalas his first and final opportunity to call a championship game.Here is that moment, reconstucted by JEANACHIP on You Tube. Enjoy!!!!!

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