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Phillies Broadcaster Harry Kalas Dies at 73

Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas passed out in a press box at Nationals Park today and was pronounced dead at GW Hospital. He was 73.

"We lost our voice today," team president David Montgomery said, his voice cracking. "He has loved our game and made just a tremendous contribution to our sport and certainly to our organization."

Nats acting GM Mike Rizzo talked to Montgomery after Kalas' collapse but there was never really a thought of canceling the game; Montgomery told Rizzo that Kalas would have wanted them to play. There will be a moment for silence for both Nick Adenhart of Hagerstown and for Kalas.

"Major League Baseball has lost one of the great voices of our generation," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "Baseball announcers have a special bond with their audience, and Harry represented the best of baseball not only to the fans of the Phillies, but to fans everywhere."

Montgomery said that Kalas was found unconscious in a broadcast booth, where he was preparing to work Monday's game against the Nationals. He was found by the Phillies director of broadcasting at about 12:30 p.m.

Montgomery called his condition serious at that time, and the Phillies closed the visitors' clubhouse to the media.

Kalas missed most of spring training after undergoing surgery in February. The team declined to reveal details of the surgery, saying it was a "minor medical procedure."

Kalas, who has broadcast Phillies games since 1971, was known for his distinctive "Outta here!" home run call. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after receiving the Ford C. Frick Award in 2002. He was in the final year of a three-year contract with the Phillies. Kalas also narrated for NFL Films, broadcast Animal Planet's annual Puppy Bowl and did the voice-overs for the Chunky Soup commercials.

By Tracee Hamilton  |  April 13, 2009; 3:04 PM ET
 
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Comments

Sheesh. I hope the guy's okay.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 13, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Wow. My condolences to his family and to Phillies fans everywhere.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 13, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Wow. RIP Harry. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Posted by: FloresFan | April 13, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

ESPN just said on Sportscenter that Kalas passed away. Condolences to the organization and above all his family.

Posted by: NationalsPrideMike | April 13, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

His family will be in my prayers.

Posted by: trezmartin | April 13, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

How very sad. Seems to be a kind of black cloud over baseball right now :(

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 13, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

RIP Harry Kalas ... he was the first voice I ever heard do baseball as a kid ...

Posted by: Brian_ | April 13, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Brings to mind the sudden passing of Tim Russert while preparing for a broadcast.

Condolences to Mr. Kalas' family, friends, and fans throughout baseball. Didn't Aaron Boone have a Kalas welcoming message on his phone at one point or am I mixing up my broadcasters?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 13, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I will miss Harry Kalas for sure. Regards to his family.

At least he finally got to call the World Series for his Phillies.

Posted by: BoteMan | April 13, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Baseball has lost another of the signature voices of the summer game. Whether you are a Phillies fan or not, this is a tragedy for all of us who follow the game. I used to listen to a lot of Phillies games on radio before the Nats came to town and loved how Harry and Richie Ashburn used to work so well, almost finishing eash others sentences. It was like listening to two guys talking baseball in a bar.A tragic loss.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 13, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

RIP, Harry Kalas, the man with the golden voice. I know mostly of his work with NFL Films and enjoyed listening to him dating back to when I was a grade school kid, over 30 years ago.

Posted by: hokiepokster92 | April 13, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Hoping that this doesn't sound to much like I am minimizing...

A death is always a tragedy, no matter what the age or circumstance. However, Harry Kalas died doing something he truly loved and had a passion for. He even got to call the last World Series and watched his beloved Phillies win the whole thing. Lets all be happy for him in that regard.

Condolences to his family and the Philadelphia Phillies Organization.

Posted by: TimDz | April 13, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

So sad to hear. He was a class act and one of the best baseball announcers of all time. Had that amazing voice...."IT'S OUTTA HERE....."

He will be missed.

Posted by: yeayea911 | April 13, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh good grief. That's a bummer. Condolences to his family and his Phillies family...

Posted by: capecodner424 | April 13, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

RIP the Voice of NFL Films.

Posted by: Krazijoe | April 13, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

No one did it better. Would love to see his son Todd take his place.

Posted by: BushMustGo | April 13, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Very sad indeed. RIP.

Posted by: soloman5000 | April 13, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I grew up watching the Phillies and listening to Mr. Kalas and Mr. Ashburn, Phillie baseball will never be the same. No one can ever take the place of these two great icons.

Posted by: Dimples91173 | April 13, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Imagine Harry Kalas, John Facenda, Barry White, and God trying to outdo each other with their bassoon voices ... and Harry Caray coming in with a can of Silly String!

Posted by: bs2004 | April 13, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Harry was my friend and was I am privileged to be able to make that claim. I started my career at the same time he started his Major League career, 1965 in Houston. He did one inning on the air and I put numbers on the Astodome scoreboard. He now is enshrined in the Baseball Hall-of-Fame rightfully and deservedly so. Many complimentary words will now be written but none will ever describe what a great human being he was. Good bye "Double E" and when you get there, say hello to Mel Allen for me.
Alimony Tony

Posted by: rockytony | April 13, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Probably the only good man to come out of Philly. Its a shame. Very sorry to hear that.

Who is going to announce todays game for the Philthy Phillies? Kinda late to find a replacement.

Posted by: SkinsOsHokies | April 13, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Too much sadness this season, and it's only a week old. Thanks for the memories Harry.

Posted by: JakeD47 | April 13, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I grew up listening to Harry and Rich Ashburn call Phillies games. It was almost as good as being at the game. RIP Harry, you will be missed.

Posted by: steve771 | April 13, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@ SkinsOsHokies: Were those comments really necessary at this point?

Posted by: TimDz | April 13, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

What a shock. The man was a part of the greatness of baseball.

Posted by: Attucks | April 13, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse


Listening to the Phils will never be the same. Goodbye, old friend.

Posted by: sjw18930 | April 13, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I've been trying to figure out why Kalas's death bothers me so. Now I know. It's because I'm becoming more aware of my sports fan mortality. When Washington had no team of its own between 1972 to 2004, I became more a fan of the sport of baseball than any specific team. At night I could listen to Chuck Thompson and Bill O'Donnell in Baltimore; Ned Martin and Jim Woods in Boston; Joe Tait and Herb Score in Cleveland; Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey in Detroit; Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer, Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner in New York; Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall in Cincinnati; Kalas and Richie Ashburn in Philadelphia and Jack Buck in St. Louis. These guys had an affinity for the game and could weave in some of the most marvelous stories in their play-by-play. They weren't the slave-to-statistics, check-out-my catchphrase guys most teams employ today. They were your companions, taking down the byways of baseball on leisurely nights once the out-of-town signals began to come in to my transistor radio. We as baseball fans are diminished by the losses of many of these guys, the likes of which we will never, unfortunately, hear again.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 13, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

One of the all-time greatest, he'll be remembered forever. I can hear his voice in my mind right now. RIP.

Posted by: ana1ana2 | April 13, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

i can still see my probably 7-year-old brother in his summer pjs in his room with the antique airplane wallpaper. climbing into bed, phils game on the black and silver dial radio. windows were open, and it was still light out. absolute sense of summer to hear harry's voice.

Posted by: alisoncsmith | April 13, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

DCab let if fly, didn't he?

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 13, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Harry is one of the all time best in his profession. His distinct voice will never be forgotten. It was indeed a pleasure to listen to him broadcast a game. He was great as the voice of the Puppy Bowl.

Posted by: jackp1 | April 13, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

After the Senators were stolen, I listend to Harry, Richie and By Saam. Three HOF boadcasters. Harry was a class individual. He made the games so exciting - especially the 1972 Steve Carlto 27 win season for a team that won only 59 games. Rest in peace Harry. You did your job well and we mourn your all too soon passing.

Posted by: MarcJMilzman | April 13, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Was listening to Charlie and Dave a bit before the game started. Hadn't remembered until they mentioned it that Kalas had become a Senators fan in his youth after meeting Mickey Vernon. Kalas had told the story in a pregame interview with them at one point.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 13, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

XM switched over to the Phillies broadcast for their feed. The Phillies broadcasters are really having a tough time doing their jobs, but they are soldiering on.

It's tough for me as a fan and would-be broadcast guy to listen to. I can't imagine how they feel, so close to the situation.

Posted by: BoteMan | April 13, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

As a diehard Phillies phan for my entire life, all I can say is RIP Harry. We all loved you, Wheels, L.A. and the gang.

I'm so happy you lived to see last year's championship.

Now the Phillies have an extra incentive to repeat...

Posted by: gillian3 | April 13, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I miss Harry Kalas.
RIP Harry!
I am the phillies #1 Fan

Philliesfan1

Posted by: Philliesfan1 | April 13, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Wow, really sad news. I was fortunate enough to meet Harry and get his autograph on a ball that has signatures from a bunch of MLB announcers and writers in 2007, thanks the to set up of RFK Stadium. The year before, I noticed where the press box entrance was, out of the dining area right by the food court. That year, I happened to catch Bob Uecker after a game. So for the final series at RFK Stadium, I went by during the fifth inning, when Harry would have finished the fourth on radio and before he'd go back on TV in the seventh. I waved to him and he came to the door. Just to hear him say "How are you?" in that golden voice was amazing. Glad that he was able to call the World Series on WPHT last fall. Will really miss him....

Posted by: ValleyCaps | April 13, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

RIP, Harry. Thanks for all the stories.

Posted by: PharPhlungPhillyPhan | April 13, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

The buddists say that the greatest gift is an easy death.

So many people suffer so horribly as they die.

To be found "passed out" is something that everyone should pray is the way they go.

The only thing better is dying in your sleep.

We all die.

Pray that you die like did.

I sure do.

Posted by: svreader | April 13, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

As a Mets fan I hate the Phillies, but I send my condolences.

Posted by: Steve94 | April 13, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I remember as a child listening to John McClain and Dan Daniels doing Senators games on the radio sitting on the back porch with my dad, driving over to Baltimore hearing Chuck Thompson "aint the beer cold" after an Oriole victory or a home run, of course Vin Scully waxing poetic about his beloved Dodgers and the "boys of summer" Ernie Harwell sarcastically but hilariously describing an opposing player taking a called third strike "standing there as if he was waiting for a bus" this one is a tough one to take, Kalas in my mind is the last of a dying breed(please forgive the reference) Kalas was a homer, as was the late Skip Caray here in Atlanta. I have no problem with that WHY? because they had knowledge of the game and its history and all of these men were and still are a joy to listen too and i'd be remissed if i didn't mention former Oriole and current SF Giant broadcaster John Miller. RIP Mr.Kalas.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 13, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

My condolences to the Kalas family, Harry was simply the best.

Posted by: artax_2002 | April 13, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

RIP Harry. Millions of people will miss your voice and love for sports.

Posted by: middleagedfogey | April 13, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I never thought anyone could replace By Saam and Bill Campbell, but Harry stepped right in and seemed a natural, as if he had been a Phillies broadcaster all his life. When former Whiz Kid Rich Ashburn died during an away Mets series, it was a shock, and this is equal to that.

Posted by: hlabadie | April 13, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

NFL Films might as well pack it in. No one can fill the shoes of both John Facenda and Harry Kalas.

Same goes for Puppy Bowl.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | April 13, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Another baseball announcing legend has passed on. You did not have to be a Phillie or NFL Films fan to appreciate his greatness. Two sad days in baseball in the last week.

Posted by: DhabaBase | April 13, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

One of Harry's greatest skills was knowing how to not talk. So many sportscasters are terrified of dead air, and will say just about anything to fill in the empty spaces. Harry was so comfortable with his role that he'd sit back and let 15 or 20 seconds go by with nothing but the crowd noises in the background, and then pick it up when there was something to talk about. (He also was a master at catching up on the pitches that were missed during the commercial breaks; you never knew he had put the game on fast forward.) He will be missed, indeed.

Posted by: AlfredPoor | April 13, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Harry Kalas was my neighbor. We were never very close, but he and his wife were always very friendly.

Posted by: 8lombards | April 13, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Bases loaded walk. Gross.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 13, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Riddle: How is Daniel Cabrera like the Acela?

Answer: He has pretty good velocity, but his last stop is Washington.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | April 13, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

How is Cabrera any better than Shawn Hill Mr.Rizzo?

Posted by: dargregmag | April 13, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

R.I.P, Mr. Kalas,
You were a gift to us all.

Posted by: dashriprock | April 13, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Bases loaded walk. Gross.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 13, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse
-----------------------------------

Riddle: How is Daniel Cabrera like the Acela?

Answer: He has pretty good velocity, but his last stop is Washington.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | April 13, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse
---------------------------------

How is Cabrera any better than Shawn Hill Mr.Rizzo?

Posted by: dargregmag | April 13, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse
-------------------

Hey you idiots, we are talking about Harry Kalas, one of the all-time greats of broadcasting. Please show some respect. If you want to make moronic comments about Cabrera or the game or whatever, please post elsewhere. Sheesh! Dumb a##es!


Posted by: TJO73 | April 13, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh! Dumb a##es!

Please don't curse on this blog. Show a little respect.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 13, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry. Did not mean to lose my temper. But respect needs to be shown by others, too.

Posted by: TJO73 | April 13, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

TJ073, apparently you're new around here (which is generally a good reason to keep your mouth shut), but this is where we discuss the game in progress -- in the current post. Please feel free to take yourself elsewhere if you don't want to read that.

Having said that, it would be nice if the washpost folks would post a new topic for the game itself.

Posted by: joebleux | April 13, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Not a problem, folks. It must be nice to be perfect and full of yourselves. Enjoy the game.

Posted by: TJO73 | April 13, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

It's sad that he's gone, but, for a baseball announcer, what a way to go!

Posted by: arty1 | April 13, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Where is the game post? What's the attendance like?

Posted by: RickFelt | April 13, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I grew up listening to Harry Kalas call Phillies games on TV and the Radio -- he will be greatly missed as his old partner Richie Ashburn is. Farewell Harry...you were simply the best.

Posted by: dbunkr | April 13, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I'd rate Harry Kalas with the announcing "greats" any day.

Mel Allen, Red Barber Vin Scully, Curt Gowdy, Jack Buck, Lindsey Nelson, Harry Caray, and the list goes on and on. We count on them to make even a blowout game interesting and always delivered with their history and knowledge of the game.

Harry Kalas is another legend who will be sorely missed.

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | April 13, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

He's "Outta here"....and as a life long Phillies fan, I mean that with the utmost in love and respect. By Harry

Posted by: gloriousglo13 | April 13, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Lifelong Phils fan... I'm listening to the Phillies' broadcast of the game. The two announcers (Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen) are doing an amazing job given the circumstances. Such a sad day. Harry's been the voice of the Phils as long as I can remember. Summer won't sound the same from now on.

Re the game and Cabrera: Andersen says he thinks that the Nats should do what the Blue Jays did with Roy Halladay and send Cabrera down to the low minors and "reset" him. "Anyone who throws that fast and can't throw strikes needs to go down and start over."

I liked the Acela joke. And lighten up, y'all: Harry Kalas would have loved it, too.

Posted by: ledoux67 | April 13, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone who throws that fast and can't throw strikes needs to go down and start over."

- That fast as in 89 mph? Maybe my gameday is off.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 13, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

A NOTE TO TJ073: I posted a lengthy tribute to Harry Kalas and other great baseball play by play men at around 3:30 pm check it out and by the way nobody's a dumb azz.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 13, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

He hit that ball harder than he hits a...

Posted by: skins1110 | April 13, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I lived in the PHL tv market for 30 years. Never a baseball fan, but Harry Kalas's voice in the background always meant that it was Spring again and all was right with the world.

Posted by: deeppeace | April 13, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

TJO73: Chill dude. Posting comments like that is not disrespecting Kalas. It's just a comment, please don't read anything into it. Dumb a##es! lol.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 13, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in Pittsburgh listening to "The Gunner" -- Bob Prince -- who has long departed. So sad to see another broadcasting icon in Kalas go. I know how you feel, Phils fans. Guys like that are a throwback to days gone by -- days when idiots didn't clutter death notices and obits with their brain droppings.

Posted by: Jumpy66 | April 13, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, as a Phillies fan, for all the nice comments about Harry. He was the voice of the championship era of the Phillies, and the darker times we've had with our Phils. Harry bled Phillies red, though, no matter what the standing where. His "watch that baby go" and "that ball is ouutta here! were as enthusiastic during championship seasons as well as losing seasons.
And to natsfan1a1, it's possible Aaron Boone did have Harry on his voicemail, as his dad was former Phillies catcher Bob Boone.

Posted by: MikeKF | April 13, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

My apologies folks. I do need to chill. I guess I was pretty shaken up.

I wondered why I was so shook up by the sad news about Harry...I guess it's finally sunk in that just about everything I remember from when I was a young man is gone or will soon be gone. From reading so many of the great posts here, I remember many of the greats I grew up listening to as a kid (along with many of you)--Bob Prince, Dizzy Dean, Pee Wee Reese, Frank Messer, Bill White, Phil Rizzuto, Ralph Kiner, Lindsey Nelson, By Saam, Harry Caray, Ernie Harwell, Red Barber....on and on and on. Harry Kalas has been there my entire adult life. Harry and Rich Ashburn were sometimes the only reason to watch or listen to some pretty lousy Phillies teams! They were absolutely wonderful together. I guess Vin Scully and Bob Uecker are about the only "old-timers" still working. And now Bob Sheppard may not be the PA announcer at the new Yankee Stadium, due to health.

It's sad to see how much closer we are to the end than the beginning. And I apologize for being morbid or depressing, but events like today just hammer home what has passed vs what we still have to look forward to. Makes you think. And I'm getting older and even older.

Thanks for letting me blabber on. Sorry for the earlier misplaced anger on my part.

PS--on a very sacreligious note, my wife and (also a big Kalas fan) and I used to wonder why Harry didn't do one of the 900-phone numbers. Can you imagine--Harry reading porn with that wonderful voice of his? :)

Posted by: TJO73 | April 13, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

We love you Harry!

I'm at the game, and we had seats in the diamond club, and we're in there eating, and the screen said that Harry Kalas had just passed away earlier. And I look at it, and I'm thinking 'Harry Kalas isn't dead', right? And blew it off in my mind. Like it was a joke or not real for some reason. It's like it was too much to take in or something. And I swear it didn't even occur to me until after the moment of silence that it happened right there in the press box before the game. It was the weirdest thing like, he can't be dead -- nobody told me. Like it wasn't real for the longest time today. Things like that only happen when someone dies, you know? Time and space sort of change without you knowing it.

That is incredibly sad. There'll never be anyone close to him in style. What a magic voice. Good luck upstairs old boy *weeps*

Posted by: Brue | April 13, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

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