By Saul RosaStaff Writer
When baseball fans recall the names of legends, they usually say Babe Ruth or Jackie Robinson, but to a Phillies’ fan the name Harry Kalas is sure to pop up.
At the age of 73, with almost 40 years of experience as the Phillies’ play-by-play announcer, Harry Kalas died in a press box at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. before the Phillies’ game against the Nationals April 13.
Kalas began his career calling in the minor league games for Hawaii Islanders while stationed in Hawaii for the United States Army.
In 1963, Kalas first appeared in the Major Leagues replacing Al Helfer, for the Houston Astros, where he worked Gene Elston and Loel Passe.
He first made his appearance with the Phillies in 1971 when he succeeded Bill Campbell, and was the master of ceremonies for the opening of the Veterans Stadium.
Kalas began narrating for the NFL Films in 1975, and became the primary voice in 1984 with the death of John Facenda.
Kalas was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award, an award for broadcasters for major contributions to baseball, from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.
Nicknamed “Harry the K” by Phillies fans, Kalas also announced the ceremonial closing of Veterans Stadium in 2003 and was the master of ceremonies at the ceremonial opening of Citizens Bank Park in 2004.
Five days before Kalas would be the victim of cardiovascular disease, the Phillies honored Kalas by having him throw the first pitch before the game against the Braves on April 9, 2009.
Many fans and players would put Kalas amongst the greats of Philadelphia.
“Harry Kalas, if you can look past Ben Franklin and William Penn, may have been the greatest person to grace Philadelphia in the history of the city,” stated Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt to Rob Maaddi, AP Sports Writer.