Harry Kalas, 1936-2009
April 13, 2009 12:20 PM   Subscribe

He was great, and I'm saying this as a Mets fan. I'm glad he got to see the Phils win the Series last year, though.
posted by Mister_A at 12:34 PM on April 13, 2009

posted by cmfletcher at 12:37 PM on April 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by fixedgear at 12:41 PM on April 13, 2009

This has really, really bummed me out. He had such a great voice, and I just can't imagine the game without him.

Also, there's a lot of good stuff written about Kalas, certainly more than this obit thread would lead you to believe. He's worth the time it would take to put together a solid post.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:43 PM on April 13, 2009

News bulletin broke in on the radio saying he was unexpectedly brought to the hospital. It sounded bad, like they knew something they weren't allowed to say yet. I thought to myself: This one is outta here.

Harry was one of the last of the legendary generation of broadcasters who were icons despite their flaws. At least he lived long enough to get the '08 ring a couple of days ago.

posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:43 PM on April 13, 2009

The Phils just hit their first homerun since Harry passed, and there's nobody around to say "it's outta here!"

I had a sense of foreboding as soon as I heard he was brought to the hospital. I don't have the obscenity in my vocabulary to explain how unfair this is.

I met him once, when I was working an elevator at Lincoln Financial Field (the Eagles stadium) and he was working radio for Westwood One, and I took him downstairs to smoke. I only talked to him for a few moments, but now I wish I had taken as much time as I could have with him.

At least now he's back with Whitey. They're surely watching today and calling a hell of a game.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 12:56 PM on April 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I was in my early 20s and working nights in a terrible, brain-death office job when a co-worker introduced me to the beauty of baseball on the radio. Harry and Whitey helped me pass a lot of great nights of baseball and taught me a lot about the game along the way. Whitey's death hit me pretty hard. I'm just numb about Harry's passing. His voice, the familiar phrases ("HOMErun, MICHael JACK Schmidt") have been running through my head all afternoon. Philly has lost a big piece of its cultural fabric today. One that it is hard to imagine being replaced.

RIP Harry, I'm going to miss you far more than makes sense.
posted by qldaddy at 12:58 PM on April 13, 2009

I grew up with his voice, and it will be missed. He was also the voice of 'this week in the NFL' for many years.

posted by OHenryPacey at 1:11 PM on April 13, 2009


I loved Harry's voice, that he believed in the "reverse jinx" against opposing teams, that he cried and wrote a poem for his longtime broadcast partner Richie Ashburn when Ashburn died. I can't imagine how Phillies highlights will sound without Harry calling them.

And I love that the man called the Puppy Bowl too.
posted by gladly at 1:12 PM on April 13, 2009

I grew up with his voice, and it will be missed. He was also the voice of 'this week in the NFL' for many years.

And non-sports watchers/listeners may recognize his voice from the Puppy Bowl.

posted by inigo2 at 1:14 PM on April 13, 2009

"Dukes looks up and that ball, yes folks, is outta here"

-- Scott Frankze's call of Shane Victorino's home run during today's Phillies game

Victorino pointed to the booth after he crossed home plate. Larry Anderson, Chris Wheeler, Sarge and Frankze have been sharing stories about Harry all day on both the radio and TV.

Larry Anderson was broken up on CSN. (click "Larry Andersen reacts to Kalas' passing - 4/13")
Mike Schmidt on ESPN
Comments at The Good Phight
Comments at Beerleaguer
Comments at the 700 Level
posted by christonabike at 1:41 PM on April 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


We'll be toasting him every game, from here on out. What a loss.
posted by desuetude at 1:56 PM on April 13, 2009

Sad, sad, sad. He and Ashburn were fixtures of my childhood.
posted by mkultra at 2:21 PM on April 13, 2009

Folk singer Chuck Brodsky (a big Phillies fan who also wrote a song about Steve Carlton called "Lefty") recorded a great tribute to Richey Ashburn after he died called "Whitey and Harry." It talks about the town's collective mourning when Ashburn died, and features the line "...and there's Harry going on without you / Good old Harry." It's really a nice song, if a bit bittersweet now that Kalas is gone too.

Growing up a Cardinals fan and feeling emotional when Jack Buck passed, my condolences to Phillies fans today.
posted by AgentRocket at 2:43 PM on April 13, 2009

It's going to be very difficult to watch a Phillies game without his distinctive voice calling it. RIP.
posted by MegoSteve at 3:06 PM on April 13, 2009

I grew up near Philly, but was never a baseball fan. I just kinda wandered into this thread. But after clicking cmfletcher's link, all the old childhood memories of hearing his voice on the radio came flooding back. It's kinda like having a song that reminds you of the good old days. His voice was iconic.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 3:29 PM on April 13, 2009

i was born and raised and still live in philly.

i dont think its really possible to explain what his voice represented to our city, or to explain why his voice being gone is a really truly horrid thing.
posted by Addiction at 3:39 PM on April 13, 2009

posted by Ike_Arumba at 5:44 PM on April 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

When I think Philadelphia, I hear his voice.

posted by jonp72 at 6:09 PM on April 13, 2009

posted by gnutron at 6:25 PM on April 13, 2009

I didn't know this, but he was also part of the original broadcasting team for the Houston Astros.

posted by thewittyname at 7:15 PM on April 13, 2009

This makes me really sad, he IS baseball to me. Glad he got to enjoy the series win.

Merrill Reese better live forever.

I hate that the new generation of sportscasters tend to have such generic voice and style, what is up with that?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:07 PM on April 13, 2009

This is one Mets fan who was really saddened by the news. :(
posted by seandq at 10:07 PM on April 13, 2009

Sorry to hear this sad news. Kalas and Richie Ashburn (my favorite player when I was in grade school) were wonderful broadcasting partners, and great friends, for almost 30 years, and Kalas succeeded as well in the unenviable task of following the legendary John Facenda (called by some "the voice of God") at NFL Films. Incredible to think that for almost 40 years, as managers and players came and went in Philadelphia, Harry was always around. A class act all the way.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:09 PM on April 13, 2009

I live in Philly and have for almost all my life. I'm not a baseball fan but I'm still really bummed out about this. His voice is such an iconic fixture in this city. Glad he got to see the Series win last year. RIP.
posted by Shesthefastest at 11:44 PM on April 13, 2009

posted by Smart Dalek at 1:55 PM on April 15, 2009

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