I love baseball, its a sport of passion, emotion and connection. Is it because the game is slow enough at times that you can get a good look at the Boys in blue for your particular city? Is it because the game is old enough that it benefits from the tradition being passed from generation to generation. Philadelphia has had a team since 1883. In my family alone that is 5 generations roughly, 6 if you count my son.There are two men who I associate with baseball, I can’t think of it without them. My Grandfather, Paul Thomas, who I am named for, introduced me to the game. And then Harry.
The voice of the Phillies for my entire life wasÂ Harry Kalas, whose dulcet tones have highlighted the boys of summer’s exploits since before I could say baseball, Passed away today. You never think Celebrities and sports figures would hit you like that. I’m stunned, I don’t know baseball without his rich baritone describing the details. His gravely deep tones and signature calls. Even though I just finished listening to my first game without him describing it Its unreal. Its a surreal experiance.
Harry collapsed at the ballpark today, shortly before the Game. He passed a while later in the hospital. As I listened to the game the remaining broadcasters broke down often, and soldiered on. They chocked back tears while reading statements from Bud Seelig, and others. Thoughts and well wishes poured in from Media folks and former players. Plays slipped by while the announcers reminisced and I enjoyed and cried along with every bit of it.
For fans not from Philadelphia its impossible to explain Harry, save to say that opposing players knew him and respected him. He was the voice of NFL films and so many other things. He was the voice for the soul of the Philadelphia Fan. MLB did a good job a while back trying to capture the spirit of Harry. And after he passed they did a credible job summing up the career of a Legend.
For a true fan’s reaction, and a better writers reaction check out Dan Levy’s take from on the DL. I never had the chance to meet him, but people who listened to him felt like we did. He’s the grandfather you never met.
But focusing on the good things in life. Harry’s voice will forever remain with me whenever the spring turns warm and the bases are loaded. There will be other Iconic voices, but there will never be another Harry. Thanks for everything Harry, the memories, the baseball, and the calls. You will be missed, mourned and always loved.
Some things just happen the way they should, you would hope the team would push through for a win, not that anyone would blame them if they lost, And the franchise with 10,000 losses won it for Harry. You would hope that the last game a person like Harry would get to call would be a win. Well it happened. Signature game winning home run call and all. Matt Stairs Long Fly Ball… Its OUTTA HERE
I kept going over what I wrote again and again… I couldn’t find a way to squeeze any more of a tribute into these short paragraphs then I already did. So i worked on a little graphic, enjoy.