Harry Kalas

Harry Kalas

Infobox Person
name = Harry Kalas
birth_date = birth date and age|1936|3|26
birth_place = Naperville, Illinois

Harold Norbert Kalas (born March 26, 1936) is a Hall of Fame American sportscaster, best known for his roles as lead play-by-play announcer for Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies, National Football League radio broadcasts by Westwood One and as voice-over narrator for NFL Films, a regular feature on "Inside the NFL".


Early life and career

Born in Naperville, Illinois, Kalas graduated from Naperville High School in 1954. He later graduated from the University of Iowa in 1958. Harry Kalas is of Greek descent.

Kalas began his career in 1961 calling minor league games for the Hawaii Islanders while he was in the United States Army stationed in Hawaii.

Kalas made his major league debut in 1965 with the Houston Astros. He was hired by the Phillies in 1971 to replace Bill Campbell, and was the master of ceremonies at the 1971 opening of Veterans Stadium. After the retirement of By Saam, Kalas was paired with Andy Musser and Hall of Fame player Richie Ashburn. Kalas joined NFL Films in 1975, and has been there since.

A son, Todd Kalas (b. 1965), was at one time a Phillies broadcaster and currently works as a pregame/postgame show host for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Philadelphia Phillies

While initially meeting with a lukewarm reception due to his replacement of the popular Campbell, Kalas soon won the hearts of Phillies fans with his easy-going style, his mellow, baritone, leathery voice (which will rise to great excitement upon great plays on the field or Phillies' home runs, especially in key situations), his love of the game and also his accessibility to Phillies fans, for whom he professes a strong love. He is currently signed by the Phillies through the 2009 season.

Kalas was sidelined for a few days in late July 2008 to treat a detached retina.

Richie Ashburn

Kalas and Ashburn became beloved figures in Philadelphia, and also became best friends. They worked together for 27 seasons until Ashburn's sudden passing on September 9, 1997 of a heart attack in his sleep in a New York City hotel room after broadcasting a Phillies/Mets game at Shea Stadium.

Due to the closeness of Ashburn and Kalas, Kalas has openly stated that he is still grieving over Ashburn's death, over ten years afterwards.

Although Kalas and Ashburn worked together harmoniously, his relationships with other partners have not been as friendly, although there is a friendly chemistry demonstrated in the broadcast booth with fellow broadcaster and former Phillies pitcher Larry Andersen and Tom McCarthy (a/k/a "T-Mac"). In the course of contract negotiations, it became public knowledge that Kalas preferred working with Andersen, as opposed to working with Chris Wheeler, a former member of the team's publicity department who became a full-time announcer. Fact|date=July 2007

Memorable calls

Kalas' familiar home run call is "Swing...and a long drive, watch this baby, outta here! Home run "If it is a gigantic home run, he may insert "deep center field" after "and a long drive" and may also describe it as "that ball's way outta here!".

As a guest on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" on July 15, 2007, Kalas recounted that his famous "outta here" call originated in the mid-1970s. Standing around the batting cage during batting practice Philly slugger Greg Luzinski hit a ball into the upper deck to which Philly shortstop Larry Bowa reacted with the words, "Wow! That's way outta here." Kalas claims that it had a nice "unique ring to it and has been using it ever since".

Kalas made arguably, his most memorable call on April 18, by|1987, when Mike Schmidt hit his 500th career home run. cquote|Swing and a long drive, there it is, number 500! The career 500th home run for Michael Jack Schmidt!

Another classic call was the final out by Tug McGraw as he struck out Willie Wilson in Game 6 of the 1980 World Series between the Phillies and the Kansas City Royals. cquote|65,000 plus on their feet here at Veterans Stadium. The Tugger needs one more...Swing and a miss! Yes, he struck him out! Yes, they did it! The Phillies are world champions! World champions of baseball! It's pandemonium at Veterans Stadium! All of the fans are on their feet. This city has come together behind a baseball team!...Phillies are world champions! This city knows it! This city loves it!

This call was not made live by Kalas, as network agreements then in place prevented local announcers from calling the World Series games. Kalas and the rest of the Phillies' radio crew did a re-creation broadcast after the World Series. Despite a petition signed by thousands of fans, NBC refused to yield. Due at least in part to the huge outcry from Philadelphia fans, Major League Baseball later amended its broadcast contracts to allow teams' originating radio stations (and announcers) to broadcast World Series games locally, beginning in 1984.

Another memorable call of Kalas' was his description of the final moments of Game 6 of the 1993 National League Championship Series between the Phillies and Atlanta Braves:

Here is the call by Kalas when the Phillies clinched the 2007 National League East division title on the last day of the season, completing a comeback as they erased a seven game deficit behind the New York Mets in early September: cquote|Myers...has the sign from Chris Coste...curveball, struck him out!! The Phillies are National League East champions!! Look at the scene on the field!! Look at the scene on the stands!! This is incredible!! The Phillies are the National League East champions and will go to the postseason for the first time since 1993!! Wow!

Kalas is also known for not hesitating to criticize the Phillies on-air, especially late in a season when a playoff bid is on the line and the Phillies let a lead slip.


Nicknamed "Harry the K", Kalas received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.

The restaurant built into the base of the main scoreboard at Citizens Bank Park is named "Harry the K's" in Kalas' honor.

Harry also helped announce the ceremonial closing of Veterans Stadium in 2003 and was the master of ceremonies at the ceremonial opening of Citizens Bank Park in 2004.

Other ventures

In addition to his work with the Phillies and NFL Films, Kalas has called various sports over the years for CBS Radio and Westwood One (including the NFL, MLB, college basketball, and Notre Dame football) and lent his voice to commercials for the Campbell Soup Company and GMC Truck. Kalas also provides the recorded voice-over for much of the self-guided tours at the United States Mint in Philadelphia and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

He also narrated/commentated Animal Planet's Puppy Bowls I-IV from 2005-2008. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/02/arts/television/02bark.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ei=5087&em&en=a891faaab2498520&ex=1202101200 Puppy Bowl IV - Television - New York Times ] ]

He also made an appearance on the song "Rain Delay" by the Philadelphia-based rock group Marah.

Harry is the voice in the commercials for the movie "Leatherheads".

ee also

*List of Philadelphia Phillies broadcasters


External links

* [http://web.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers/frick/kalas_harry.jsp Baseball Hall of Fame - Frick Award recipient]
* [http://www.philly.com/mld/dailynews/sports/14195491.htm Happy return]

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