The Philadelphia Phillies suffered their greatest loss only 7 games into the marathon that they call the baseball season. No, a 4th loss was not added to their record, but a loss much greater felt that cannot be represented by a number. Legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster, Harry Kalas, passed away at the age of 73.
My dream of becoming a broadcaster can be attributed to Harry the K. From a very young age, I began listening to the Phils with my dad, and the indescribable voice I heard sent chills through my body as each pitch was called. He never ceased to amaze me, and with every pitch that he announced, I became more eager to imitate one of his calls. As I grew older, and my appreciation for listening to a Hall of Famer grew, I began to take notice of just how special Kalas really was. At times, I would mute the T.V. and turn on the radio, just to hear him call the game, because Phils’ baseball is not the same without Harry calling every pitch.
During the 2008 playoff and World Series run, I made sure that I heard the final inning of each of the clinching games. I would call my cousin down in Florida (Harry can’t be heard down there) and put the phone up to the radio; together we would enjoy the magic that unfolded, as Harry the K made each moment more exciting. The Hall of Famer made each pitch feel like it happened right in front of you.
After a Phils’ game in 2007, I was fortunate enough to have met this renowned announcer. My friend Shane and I walked to the players’ parking lot, just hoping to meet anyone that we could; little did we know that we were going to experience something beyond our wildest dreams! My hero, my idol, the voice I had listened to for so long through the radio, was standing right there in front of me. My excitement could not be contained as I immediately struck up a conversation with him. After a long afternoon game, he took the time to speak with the two of us about the game he loved most. When asked how long he thought he would be in the booth, he jubilantly replied, “I still have plenty of years left in me. Don’t you worry about that.” Those words have never left my mind and the conversation flew to the front of my brain when I heard the news of his passing. Today, my friend and I reminisced about the time we met and spoke with this legendary man and tears filled my eyes. On that never-to-be-forgotten day I was honored to have Kalas sign my ticket. Today, that ticket has more meaning than any piece of Phillies’ memorabilia that I do now or could ever own. This head of the Phillies’ announcing family was an inspiration to all the fans, and I was lucky enough to have been in the company of that inspiration.
Dave Matthews said that, “It is easier to be left than to be left behind.” The fans now have the memory of Harry Kalas’ voice continuously playing inside our heads. It is really difficult to express the pain we all feel, realizing that when we hear that voice again, it will be that of a memory. His voice was unlike any other in this city, or in this country, and his voice shall forever be associated with the Phillies. He was arguably one of the most prominent Philadelphians in broadcast history. The memories he gave Philly fans will be cherished. A piece of our hearts was lost today when Harry passed. But true fans must be thankful that Harry was able to see the Phillies break the drought and the curse, and bring home a World Championship (the last call of which will forever be my ring tone). We lucky Philadelphians can be happy for Harry Kalas as he is now back where he was so happy, sitting next to Whitey. Harry Kalas will forever be missed, but his voice will forever ring out and be heard in the radios and homes of Phillies’ fans.
Now, I’m………outta here!