By: Joe Auriemma
There are certain people just born to announce sporting events. Some are just graced with the smooth memorable voice. Names that come to mind, Bob Sheppard, John Facenda, and Harry Kalas. Today baseball and football lost a legend, a voice that represented the Philadelphia Phillies and NFL films. Kalas passed away at the ballpark today and Phillies games will never be the same.
I had the pleasure of spending part of Mr. Kalas’ 73rd birthday with him just a couple of weeks back on March 26th. It was a Yankees-Phillies game from Clearwater, Florida and we had a good discussion about the Yankees, the Phillies chances to repeat and Bright House Field, the Phillies Spring Training Complex. I was in awe. I could not believe I was sitting in the same room as this baseball legend. His voice was exactly the same way as when he was announcing. There was no phoniness to his legendary pipes.
The one thing that I surely will remember most is how inviting he was. The man had never met me, but he walked into the booth where I was working and started having a conversation with me like we had been friends for years.
Kalas received the Ford C. Frick Award in 2002 enshrining him into the Baseball Hall of Fame wing for broadcasters. This man was a class act and one of the last legends from a lost generation of memorible baseball announcers.
Here is just a look back at the blog from the day of Kalas’ birthday:
The press box is packed here at Bright House Field, so I decided to go
to an empty radio room to do my work today. While sitting there alone
and editing my videos, in walks a man with a very familiar voice and he
asks if I would mind if he sat next to me. It’s Harry Kalas, the Hall
of Fame Phillies Broadcaster. All I keep thinking in my mind is him
saying, “The career 500th home run for Michael Jack Schmidt!,”
in his patented voice. I’m sure most of you have heard the familiar
voice if you don’t know the name. The funny thing is that his voice is
the same as if he was announcing the game. What a thrill!