After Game 1 of the 2009 World Series, the Phillies, behind staff-ace’s Cliff Lee complete-game gem, defeated the Yankees, baseball’s all-time champions. The last time the two met, was half a century ago, when the Whiz Kids got beat by those damn Yankees. Things are looking a bit different in this Series, and the Phils have taken the momentum early. Thanks to what is being considered as one of the greatest pitching performances in Major League history, the Phils look to become the seventh consecutive team to win the World Series after winning Game 1 (They would also become the 12th team out of the last 13 to do so).
Key additions, Lee and leftfielder Raul Ibanez, have helped the Phils reach this plateau for the second year in a row, the first time in the team’s history. However, it is one loss the team suffered that might have had the most impact on the Phightens.
Harry Kalas (1936-2009) passed away days into this season. His presence is still felt in the dugout, where his signature baby blue suit with white shoes sit, and his voice is still carried out in the hearts of Phillies Phiathful. His face is forever engraved in our minds, and his spirit is apparent in the performance of the players. After each victory this season, a video comes on the big screen, and the familiar face and voice joins the crowd in celebration; “High Hopes” is sung as loud by the crowd as it is by Harry the K, as the Phillies’s anthem as it has come to be known fills the air of South Philadelphia.
“High Hopes” was recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1960, after it had won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for the movie “A Hole in the Head.” A familiar voice to DJs everyone, had his song turned into an anthem by a familiar voice of the Philadelphia Phillies. Harry originally sang the song in 1993, when the Phils won the 1993 National League Championship.
(The above picture shows the team celebrating with the HK memorial on the left field padding after they clinched the NL East. The entire team ran out to say, “Harry, we know you are with us, and this one is for you!”)
If it turns out that the Phils repeat as world champions, Jimmy Rollins will be sporting a baby blue suit and white shoes down Broad Street, reporters say. This win would be sweet in so many different ways. A repeat championship would solidify the dynasty that the Phillies are building; beating the all-time world champs is the best way the Phils can leave their mark in history. Most importantly however, it shows that we indeed did it for Harry. He called the team through seasons and seasons of last place finishes, and failed playoff bids. He loved this team, perhaps more than all of us, and it would only be right if we won it for him.
I had high hopes going into the fall classic, and entering Game 2, my eyes look to the sky, as I’m certain that Harry will be watching his team on the field, sitting next to Whitey, calling the final out of the clinching game.