A DJ’s Tribute To The Late Harry Kalas

The Philadelphia Phillies suffered their greatest loss only 7 games into the marathon that they call the baseball season. No, a 4th loss was not added to their record, but a loss much greater felt that cannot be represented by a number. Legendary  Hall of Fame broadcaster, Harry Kalas, passed away at the age of 73.

My dream of becoming a broadcaster can be attributed to Harry the K. From a very young age, I began listening to the Phils with my dad, and the indescribable voice I heard sent chills through my body as each pitch was called. He never ceased to amaze me, and with every pitch that he announced, I became more eager to imitate one of his calls. As I grew older, and my appreciation for listening to a Hall of Famer grew, I began to take notice of just how special Kalas really was. At times, I would mute the T.V. and turn on the radio, just to hear him call the game, because Phils’ baseball is not the same without Harry calling every pitch.

During the 2008 playoff and World Series run, I made sure that I heard the final inning of each of the clinching games. I would call my cousin down in Florida (Harry can’t be heard down there) and put the phone up to the radio; together we would enjoy the magic that unfolded, as Harry the K made each moment more exciting. The Hall of Famer made each pitch feel like it happened right in front of you.

After a Phils’ game in 2007, I was fortunate enough to have met this renowned announcer. My friend Shane and I walked to the players’ parking lot, just hoping to meet anyone that we could; little did we know that we were going to experience something beyond our wildest dreams! My hero, my idol, the voice I had listened to for so long through the radio, was standing right there in front of me. My excitement could not be contained as I immediately struck up a conversation with him. After a long afternoon game, he took the time to speak with the two of us about the game he loved most. When asked how long he thought he would be in the booth, he jubilantly replied, “I still have plenty of years left in me. Don’t you worry about that.” Those words have never left my mind and the conversation flew to the front of my brain when I heard the news of his passing. Today, my friend and I reminisced about the time we met and spoke with this legendary man and tears filled my eyes. On that never-to-be-forgotten day I was honored to have Kalas sign my ticket. Today, that ticket has more meaning than any piece of Phillies’ memorabilia that I do now or could ever own. This head of the Phillies’ announcing family was an inspiration to all the fans, and I was lucky enough to have been in the company of that inspiration.

Dave Matthews said that, “It is easier to be left than to be left behind.” The fans now have the memory of Harry Kalas’ voice continuously playing inside our heads. It is really difficult to express the pain we all feel, realizing that when we hear that voice again, it will be that of a memory. His voice was unlike any other in this city, or in this country, and his voice shall forever be associated with the Phillies. He was arguably one of the most prominent Philadelphians in broadcast history. The memories he gave Philly fans will be cherished. A piece of our hearts was lost today when Harry passed. But true fans must be thankful that Harry was able to see the Phillies break the drought and the curse, and bring home a World Championship (the last call of which will forever be my ring tone). We lucky Philadelphians can be happy for Harry Kalas as he is now back where he was so happy, sitting next to Whitey. Harry Kalas will forever be missed, but his voice will forever ring out and be heard in the radios and homes of Phillies’ fans.

Now, I’m………outta here!

-Steven Foltz




12 Responses

  1. Dustin Morris

    Philadelphia has lost one of it’s greatest legends today. I will never look at the game of baseball the same way without the reassuring voice of Harry Kalas in my ears. He will be missed and never forgotten. Watch over the games with Whitey for us Harry. RIP

  2. Mike DeLeo

    Foltz im so glad you did this, it just makes the memories of Harry Kalas that much better and i just want to keep hearing “That balls outta here!” or “Put this one in the win column for the Fightin’ Phils”, what an outstanding guy, he will be missed very much

  3. Tony Donato

    Great Job Foltz… For a lot of us, he was the voice of summer, the only Phillies voice we ever knew, the smooth voice of summer afternoons on a Sunday… I am just glad that he finally had the chance to call a World Series (since he wasn’t able to in 1980) and I am grateful that he passed in the place he loved… the booth.

  4. Carl Lichtner

    Nicely done, Foltz! SO many stories and memories to share. Hard to pick which one to share first…..so keep’em coming everybody… from any first hand experiences with Harry…to memories of sitting on the front porch with radio, glove, ball, & bat nearby, recreating Harry’s broadcast, while the sky turns orange and the fireflies come out…. VERY fond memories..from childhood to yesterday…. in a word….bittersweet. Thanks Foltz!

  5. Larry Mendte

    Very well written – nice job.

    It is so sad that we lost Harry, but so wonderful that we had him broadcasting the Phillies.

    What a magical ending to a glorious life – the World Series – The Ring Ceremony – Matt Stairs heroics – and then he collapses in a broadcast booth at a park.

    It’s as if God himself wrote the script.

    And now Harry and Ritchie are together again. If there is a Field of Dreams, they are in the booth.

  6. Ed DeLeo

    Steve Foltz, this is almost made me cry . Harry Kalas was a great man and he was the heart and soul of the Phillies. I will miss his excitement and of course his Home Run calls, “That ball’s way outta here!”

    This is your sports journalism skills kicking in. You are the man.

  7. Justin Kutcher

    That was a great piece of writing Foltz! I know I’ll never listen to Phillies games the same way again anymore.

  8. John Harber

    I live in Los Angeles, and I guarantee you these same feelings Phillies Fans are feeling about the passing of Harry Kalas will also be suffered by Dodger fans the day Vin Scully passes away…Broadcasting ledgends like Harry and Vin will be few and far between in the tears to come.

    Also, please remember Harry’s work with Westwood One Radio broadcasting Sunday afternoon NFL games, his work with NFL Films and his voiceover commercials for Campbell’s Chunky Soup…to those of us outside Philadelphia, we remember Harry Kalas for these moments as well!

    Thoughts and Prayers to Harry’s Family. He will be missed!

  9. Tony Azzaro

    Foltz…fantastic job. I come to this article with a different perspective. I grew up in Houston listening to Milo Hamilton call the Astros games. No disrespect to Milo, as I grew up listening to him during the hot Texas summers, but when I moved here to Philadelphia, I heard Harry K for the first time and he had a magical way of calling games. His genuine feel and way of relaying a game made watching it on TV unnecessary. Harry K was truly one of a kind and it could be heard from the first moment his voice drifted from your radio. Great article Foltz and R.I.P. Harry Kalas.

  10. Eric Bruntlett

    This is impressive. I got chills down my back when I read this from a kid who is a Phillies fan. You are the epic Phillies fan and this just got me caught up in the moment. I’m sure Harry read this from up above and loved it.

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