Throughout every MLB regular season we turn our attention to the announcers who give us a reason to watch the games with anticipation. For countless Philadelphia Phillies fans, Harry Kalas did just that but he also tied generosity and professionalism together.
HK began his Hall of Fame career in 1965 as a member of the Houston Astros’ broadcast team and would later join the Phitin’ Phils in 1971 at Veterans Stadium.
The 2002 Ford C. Frick Award recipient was cool, calm, and collected. But, he called mammoth home runs like you have never heard before.
Just listen to this call from Kalas himself.
Touch ‘Em All!
Harry Kalas did more than just call baseball games for the Phils every summer, he made time for the fans.
There have plenty of times where HK gave an autograph or at least acknowledged people who he didn’t even know.
In today’s game, it’s hard to visualize a baseball voice stepping out of his comfort zone to chat with fans of any age in order to make their day.
In this touching tribute, Kalas is portrayed as an unforgettable force, but also a friendly human being (FYI, audio is not great.)
I cannot believe how lucky I was to have listened to HK during my younger years.
From, “this ball is outta here” to “Chase Utley, you are the man,” I was amused and flat out amazed how Harry Kalas shined with his calls.
It wasn’t just what he said, but how he said certain things that made him an icon in the world of broadcasting.
Swing and a Long Drive
One of Harry’s many achievements was the fact he called Mike Schmidt‘s 500th homer, which was launched back in 1987 at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium.
The home run was a three-run shot that came with two outs in the ninth inning.
The Phils trailed Pittsburgh, 6-5 before Schmidt took Don Robinson deep for his milestone blast. Philly would go on to win, 8-6.
This is definitely one of Kalas’ best calls.
Go Out A Champion
Back when the Phillies won the 1980 World Series, a team’s announcers were not allowed to call World Series games live.
Therefore, HK was unable to call the final out of the Phils’ championship season in ’80.
However, in 2008 Harry Kalas put his pipes on full display when Philly closer Brad Lidge completed a perfect campaign (converted 48 total saves in 48 opportunities) and struck out Tampa Bay’s Eric Hinske on an 0-2 slider. The out clinched the Phillies their second world title in franchise history. Philly won the series in five games.
Kalas also called six no-hitters and was named Pennsylvania Sportscaster of the Year 18 times during his joyful career.
Harry Kalas was a magician behind the mic and brought the thrills of a baseball game to fans around the country, including myself.
Because of Harry, I fell in love with sports broadcasting and it connected me to the sights, sounds, and smells I never really thought about.
If you take away anything from the one-of-kind announcer, it’s that you should treat others with kindness, generosity, and respect as you pursue a great career.
Have creative expression and understand you don’t need to rush through a TV or radio broadcast. The pace and even silence of a sportscaster can be some of the more important things to consider when presenting information.
Remember a baseball voice or sportscaster, in general, should not try to be bigger than any sporting event. It’s about the sport and what takes place with coaches, players, umpires, and even the fans listening at home.
Harry Kalas not only understood that but he greatly excelled at it.
What stood out to you about the career of Harry Kalas? Leave a comment below.
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