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Harry Kalas, voice of the Phillies, dies at 73

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Legendary Phillies announcer Harry Kalas has died. Phillies President David Montgomery released the news this afternoon after Kalas collapsed in the broadcast booth before a game against the Nationals.

Kalas, who has been the voice of the team since 1971, had reportedly undergone surgery during the off-season for an undisclosed ailment. He was 73.

Inquirer sports writer Frank Fitzpatrick covered the Phillies for about five years. He says the upbeat, friendly personality Kalas exuded from the booth wasn’t an act.

Fitzpatrick: There wasn’t a cynical bone in Harry’s body, and I think in a game like baseball that’s kind of so rich with tradition and kind of a folklore about it, it links to America, I think that sincerity really played well, even in a hard bitten city like Philadelphia.

William Kashatus is a local historian who has written several books about the Phillies. He says the much-loved Kalas will be nearly irreplaceable.

Kashatus: It’s a tremendous loss. I mean, for me personally, after my heroes retired from the 1980’s teams when they were a bunch of nondescript teams, Harry became a reason to listen to the Phillies.

The team has not released the cause of death.

Before joining the Phillies organization 38 years ago, Kalas spent five years broadcasting for the Houston Astros. He was inducted to the baseball hall of fame in 2002 as an announcer.

More information:
WHYY has set up a separate comment thread for your thoughts and memories about Hall of Fame broadcaster Kalas our sports blog, The Unobstructed View.

In 2004, Harry Kalas appeared in the WHYY production Hometown Legends.

Follow this link to the entire 30-minute video

Clips from the show are below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTV6mcpNDzI[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UOAnHmmgiI[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udlEbbQ4ZYM[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdhHDUokRoc[/youtube]

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