Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Tribute to Harry

"He had high hopes,
he had high hopes,
he had high apple-pie-in-the-sky hopes."

"The oh-two pitch - swing and a miss! Struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 world champions of baseball!"

"We lost our voice today." --Phillies president David Montgomery

"The Phillies will do their best to honor him, but there is no statue that can be erected more impressive or lasting than the indelible body of Kalas' work. He was a comfort in time of need - and Phils' fans know all about that - and a friend in the darkness of a drive through the night. He was the narrator of a city's soundtrack, the background conversation at countless events in millions of lives.

The birds stopped singing in Rittenhouse Square yesterday. The tugboats on the Delaware couldn't sound their horns. When the carriage horses took their customers past Independence Hall, there was no clop-clopping on the cobblestones. The factory whistle wouldn't let anyone leave work. Kids burst from their school rooms and didn't utter a peep.

Philadelphia went quiet yesterday afternoon. Harry Kalas died at the ballpark, and the city lost its voice." --Bob Ford, Philadelphia Inquirer

"His voice will resonate in my mind the rest of my life. I will never be called 'Michael Jack' again without seeing his smile." --Mike Schmidt, Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman

"Harry Kalas was baseball. And he was Philadelphia. He was as much part of the city as William Penn’s hat. As much part of the city as the green of the Walt Whitman Bridge. We would hear him on NFL Films and think “he’s our guy.” We would hear others speak about the golden voice and think “he’s our guy.” Our pride for Harry was greater than maybe our pride for the Phillies themselves." --Tim Malcolm, philliesnation.com

"When he first came to town in 1971, he was Harry Kalas, the Phillies' new broadcaster. And then, before anyone knew it or realized it, he was just Harry - no last name or formal title necessary. Loved ones don't need those. That's what happens when you invite a person into your home year after year after year. He becomes part of your family, even if you've never met him face-to-face." --John Gonzalez, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Close your eyes, and it's a muggy summer evening and you've just tuned in to the Fightin's, and on the TV in your den and on the radio in your car, all you need hear is The Voice, and from the sound of it, without knowing the score, you can tell instantly whether they're winning or losing." --Bill Lyon, Philadelphia Inquirer

"So enjoyable were Kalas' voice and demeanor that purist fans were known to shun games on TV in favor of listening to his play-by-play on radio. A warm night, a cold beer on the porch, and Harry Kalas describing succinctly all you needed to know, and not one word more. Summertime didn't get any better than that." --editorial from philly.com

"I feel incredibly fortunate that I was in that position and that he was the guy that called it. That will obviously be something I'll never forget. Now it's going to be even more important to me, because every time I hear it, I'm going to think about Harry. It's going to have a lot more meaning than it's ever had before . . . To me, that will always be perfection, listening to him call that." --Brad Lidge

"He is the Phillies. He is the voice." --Ryan Howard

"Summer won't seem the same." --Sister Florence Kobierowski (from Kristen Graham, Philadelphia Inquirer)

(from Harry's acceptance speech as the 2002 Ford C. Frick winner at the Baseball Hall of Fame)

"This is to the Philadelphia Fan

To Laud your passion as best I can

Your loyalty is unsurpassed

Be the Fightins in first or last

We come to the park each day

Looking forward to another fray

Because we know you'll be there

We know you really care

You give the opposing pitcher fits

Because as one loyalist shouts, "Everybody hits"

To be sure in Philly, there might be some boos

Because you passionate fans, like the manager, hate to lose

Your reaction to the action on the field that you impart

Spurs us as broadcasters to call the game with enthusiasm and heart

We feel your passion through and through

Philadelphia fans, I love you."

We love you too, Harry. Rest in peace.

Click here for a video tribute to Harry.