To me Harry Kalas, as much as anyone in sports, understood that sports is about the fan. He understood what Autographs and Photos meant to them and was always accommodating. This is what gave Harry Kalas the "everyman" quality. He was like a regular guy that just happened to have the great job of broadcasting the Philadelphia Phillies.
I will likely have a couple of Harry Kalas columns over the next week, but I will need to take some time to get my thoughts together and give the posts the proper care. Until then I would like to pass along some of the more interesting tidbits that come to mind.
Harry Kalas called every one of Michael Jack Schmidt's 548 Career Home Runs. I doubt anybody has called more homers by a single player.
Harry Kalas was the Phillies broadcaster since 1971, He covered over 6000 games. Prior to that he was the original broadcaster for the Houston Colt 45s and Astros.
I am 41 years old and Harry Kalas is the only Phillies Primary broadcaster that I have ever known.
In addition to Phillies Baseball, Kalas covered college basketball locally and NFL football for Westwood One.
He has also been the voice of NFL films and many a commercial.
Kalas was the final speaker at the closing ceremonies of Veteran's Stadium. He also removed the "one game to go banner" during the game.
Harry Kalas threw out the first pitch prior to the Phillies ring ceremony game this Past Thursdsay. This was the last Phillies home game Harry ever covered.
As a youngster Kalas grew up as a Washington Senators Fan. He said that during a rain delay at his first game, Mickey Vernon took the young Harry Kalas into the Senators dugout and introduced him to his teammates. Kalas said right then he was a baseball fan and a Senators Fan.
Today he died in Washington D.C. The home of the team he once rooted for, He likely passed away in the broadcast booth - where he performed the job he loved.
As you may know, Harry's Son Todd covers the Tampa Bay Rays. In a recent interview, Harry Kalas spoke of how special it was to cover the 2008 World Series and he said it was even more rewarding knowing that his son covered the games for the opposition.
Due to the MLB broadcasting exclusivity rights of the time Kalas was unable to call the Phillies 1980 World Championship. If you ever hear him calling Tug McGraw's strikeout, it was dubbed in after the event. The exclusivity arrangement was altered three years after the 1980 season to allow local radio to carry their own broadcasters. Harry Kalas credited the fans of Philadelphia for getting the broadcasting rules changed.
It would take 28 years but this Past October Harry Kalas did get to call the final out of a Phillies World Series victory.