Voiceovers by Gregory Houser
A man, a martini, and a lot of microphones.: RIP Harry Kalas

Monday, April 27, 2009

RIP Harry Kalas

As I am sure many of you know, Harry Kalas passed away two weeks ago today. For those who aren't familiar with him, Harry was synonymous with Philadelphia baseball, serving as the announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies since 1971 and also as an announcer for NFL films since 1974.

What you may not know or have seen is the outpouring of sympathy and condolence which which family, friends, and fans from all over showed in the aftermath of his sudden passing. Unless you live in Philadelphia, it's difficult to describe, but Harry Kalas was considered by many to be the voice of this town. He was one of the city's biggest proponents, known for his love of baseball (there are few who denied him the fan-given title of of being the "Phils biggest fan"), and of the people who lived here. Over the past two weeks, news crews have been outside of Citizens Bank Park to interview fans about the games and their reaction to Harry's passing. It seems like everyone had a favorite "Harry Kalas moment" or a personal story from meeting the man which they could share. He was even known to be the wedding announcer for fans when asked; he was so loved by the people of the Philadelphia area that many considered him to be family, despite never having met him, and the reverse was true as Harry was known for mingling and spending as much time with Phillies fans as he possibly could.

In the days after his death, a memorial tribute was set up around the Mike Schmidt statue outside of the third base entrance to Citizens Bank Park. I'd like to share a few of those photos, because without seeing the outpouring of emotion for Harry, it's tough for people to understand how one person's voice can touch so many lives.

I don't think that anything can really compare to this kind of respect the man had earned. The past two years have seen a lot of great voiceover talent move beyond this mortal coil. Harry Kalas was one of the greats among them, and his passion, his humor, and his voice will be missed by those who had the opportunity and privilege to call him one of their own.

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