The long-time voice of the Philadelphia Phillies on radio and TV collapsed in the broadcast booth in Washington, DC Monday as he prepared to call the team’s game against the Washington Nationals. According to the team, Harry Kalas was found in the booth by Phillies director of broadcasting Rob Brooks. He called for an ambulance which took Kalas to George Washington Medical Center, were he was declared dead. Kalas was 73.
Harry Kalas had called Phillies play-by-play since 1971. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.
In addition to baseball, Kalas called NFL football play-by-play on radio for Westwood One and he was a narrator for NFL Films.
His son, Todd Kalas, is now part of the broadcast team for the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team.
“We at Westwood One are deeply saddened by the passing of legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas. His imitable voice was familiar to so many, from his play-by-play of the Philadelphia Phillies to the drama of NFL Films and the excitement he brought to Westwood One’s Sunday afternoon NFL broadcasts for more than two decades. We share in the loss of this one-of-a-kind hall of fame broadcaster with millions of sports fans around the world. We send our condolences to the Kalas family and those close to him. He will be missed,” said a statement from Howard Deneroff, VP/Exec Producer of Westwood One Sports.
“Obviously he’s going to be remembered as the successor to John Facenda, the voice of NFL Films and as so many of the greatest local announcers become, he was more than just admired for his craft, he was a beloved institution in Philadelphia. I think this is generally true, in an era where players, even great players, come and go the real fixture in baseball is often the local radio voice. That’s the person that links generations to each other that people can say they grew up listening to,” said Bob Costas in a statement distributed by the MLB Network.
Jim Kaat, also now at the MLB Network, recalled his friend: “We all liked to imitate Harry when I was with the Phillies and say ‘Michael Jack Schmidt’ and you said the timber in his voice, but it was more than that. Harry was a good friend. There were 16 of us that usually gathered in the winter time and played golf for four days down in Florida and Harry regaled us with his ‘Hail to the Redskins’ time after time. So beyond just the broadcaster with the booming voice, it was a privilege to know him as a friend. Of course I knew he was not in good health having seen him a few weeks ago, obviously saddened by the news but not surprised.”