Harry Kalas

In 1971 the Philadelphia Phillies made the best deal the ever made. They signed Harry Kalas.

Harry Norbert Kalas was born on March 26, 1936 in Naperville, Illinois. His first shot at broadcasting was doing minor league games for the Hawaii Islanders. Harry had been stationed in Hawaii while in the military.

His Major League Baseball debut came when he called his first game for the Houston Astros on April 12, 1965.

The Phillies hired him in 1971 to replace long time broadcaster Bill Campbell. The fans didn't take kindly to the new man at first since Bill Campbell was so well liked. But it didn't take long to win them over.

Harry Kalas and Phillies Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn became one of the most loved and respected broadcast team in baseball.

Harry Kalas called the first and last games at Veterans Stadium and also called the first game at the Phillies new Citizen's Bank Park.

During his career, he called six no hitters and six National League Championship Series. He also called three World Series in 1983, 1993 and 2008. Because of rules at the time, Harry was not permitted to broadcast the 1980 World Series in which the Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals. But the Philadelphia fans created such an out cry, that the rules were changed.

The story goes that in the mid 1970s, the Phillies were taking batting practice before a game. Outfielder Greg Luzinski hit one far over the fence and short stop Larry Bowa said, "...that one's outta here!"

Harry said he thought that had a nice ring to it so he started using it. The "outta here call on home runs became Harry Kalas' signature call.

On October 29, 2008, Harry Kalas finally got to call a Phiilie World Championship moment. "One strike away; nothing-and-two, the count to Hinske. Fans on the their feet; rally towels are being waved. Brad Lidge stretches. The 0-2 pitch — swing and a miss, struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball! Brad Lidge does it again, and stays perfect for the 2008 season! 48-for-48 in save opportunities, and let the city celebrate!"

In 2002, Harry Kalas received the Ford C. Frick Award from Baseball's Hall of Fame. In 2004, he was named Person of the Year by the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. Harry was also elected into the Philadelphia Sports Hall Of Fame in 2004.

Eighteen times heHarry Kalas was named Pennsylvania Sportscaster Of The Year.

In June of 2008, Harry was elected into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

I almost met Harry Kalas. I was invited to the annual Richie Ashburn Foundation dinner on May 11, 2009, and asked to do some artwork for the occaision. They were honoring Harry Kals at the dinner. I couldn't wait to meet him. Unfortunately, Harry passed away on April 13.

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