RIP, Harry. We Will Never Forget You

I think only Chicago Cubs fans can understand what Phillies fans are going through today.

Harry Kalas was the same type of larger-than-life icon in Philadelphia as Harry Carey was in Chicago. There isn’t a Phillies fan alive that hasn’t tried to imitate Harry’s “That Ball is Outta Here” home run call. It is the signature of Phillies games for the last 37 years.
Whether it was Mike Schmidt’s 500th homer or the various no-hitters or the last out of last year’s World Series, that unmistakable voice was a part of everything Phillies fans loved.
I was privileged to be the producer for Phillies broadcasts in 1990 and 1991, just after finishing up my college years at Temple University. And for me, that job was the best you could ever have… a chance to work with an icon and your idol. Yet, Harry made you feel like just one of the guys in the booth. You can imagine what that radio booth was like with Harry, Ritchie Ashburn, Chris Wheeler and Andy Musser.
It was two of the best years of my life… and it was the reason I became a broadcaster. It was also a lot of fun up there as well. The endless deliveries of cookies, cakes… and then there was the pizza. If you have seen the Phillies video about Ritchie Ashburn or if you live you live in South Philly, you know about Celebrese’s Pizza.
It was the official late-night food of the Phillies radio and TV booths. Whenever that call went out, a hot plain or pepperoni pizza (or both) was in that booth not more than 20 minutes later. There was even one night when the call went out and no pizza arrived. That brought Harry and Ritchie to wonder if Celebrese’s was closed. Ten minutes after that conversation, the pizza arrived and the delivery person had a note that said “Sorry, we didn’t here you the first time. Busy tonight.”
Or ask Chris Wheeler about Harry’s love of cigars. A cigar hadn’t been lit for more than five minutes before Wheels told Harry to “put that smelly thing out”.
It was a great place to work.
I spent 13 years in the Minors (over 1,900 games) because of the job that Harry and the guys did in the radio booth.
And today, we mourn the passing of a friend and colleague.
As great a broadcaster as Harry was, he was even a better person. Two years ago, I went to the ballpark with my wife and brand new baby girl, Tish. Harry stopped by and wished me well. I hadn’t seen him in probably five years, but he knew exactly who I was and was happy to see me and meet my wife and baby. That was the type of person he was… generous and cordial at all times.
Harry is up there singing “High Hopes” with a long cigar and having a nice conversation with Whitey Ashburn. God has got two pretty good broadcasters up there with Harry and Whitey.
God Bless, Harry.


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