Monday, April 13, 2009

Harry the K

"We have lost our voice," said Philadelphia Phillies President David Montgomery. Harry Kalas has died. He was 73.

My son KC called with the news. His voice cracked with emotion. Baseball is our great love and we shared a love of Harry Kalas. He knew the news would hit me hard and it did.

I didn't know Harry. I met him once in 1980 at the Phillies Caravan in Wilkes-Barre. I asked for an autograph. Harry signed a picture of those participating in the Carvan and asked, "Who can I make this out to?" Too embarassed to say it was for me, I asked that he make it out to my sister. He was very kind.

When you love baseball and love a team, you cannot help but be drawn to that team's broadcasters. I loved listening to Harry and Riche Ashburn call Phillies games. I was fortunate to meet Ashburn too. When I interviewed, "Whitey," I asked him about his relationship with Kalas. Ashburn broke into a wide smile and said, "We're something else aren't we?" We both laughed.

For Christmas, KC gave me the Phillies 2008 World Championship DVD. Harry called the final inning. As I write this, the Phillies Radio Network is replaying that call. I'm blubbering like a baby.

Yesterday, I switched between the Phillies game and the Masters. I heard Harry call his final game; The Chase Utley home run, the Matt Stairs home run. I am grateful.

Phillies games will never be the same for me. Of course I said that when Ashburn died. But I had Harry the K to hang on to. Now he's gone.

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