Posted by Kevin Durso
Contributions to any sports team are often measured numerically. The ones that are remembered the most are the ones that did the most. So, factor in these numbers: 38 seasons, thousands of games, 8 division titles, 4 pennants, 2 World Series championship teams, and more, including opening and closing a ballpark. In that case, Harry Kalas has all the numbers, without stepping foot onto the field.
Kalas' time with the Phillies started simply enough. With Veterans Stadium ushering in a new era of baseball in Philly, Harry Kalas was simply the new voice. Slowly, but surely, that voice won our hearts. Perhaps it was the emotion of his voice, especially in the early years. One that comes to mind us Black Friday, as you hear the near thrill of a pennant win drained in his voice.
Harry is always remembered more for those moments of excitement. He opened the Vet as an unknown, but brought tons of enthusiasm. And when it came time to make a special call, Harry was right in the middle of it. Harry's dream call came just a few short months before his untimely death. There are still many players who won't stop playing, because the lifelong dream is to win a World Series. The reason 2008 is so special is because it was Harry's first Series win behind the mic live. In 1980, National broadcasts prevented local announcers from calling World Series games. Harry watched the Phillies win their first World Championship that season, but was not making the call as Tug McGraw struck out Willie Wilson. The rule was changed the very next season, and is the reason we got to hear that golden voice serenade us with the most triumphant version of 'High Hopes' most of us had ever heard.YeSterday's game featured a slightly overdue unveiling of the Harry Kalas Memorial Statue. Forever, behind section 141 of Citizens Bank Park, neighbor to Harry the K's, Harry is immortalized.
Everyone has their favorite Harry moment. It certainly made the opening of last night's Phillies broadcast touching. It really is hard to believe we are on our third season of Phillies baseball without HK. Still, there's nothing like the sound of 'High Hopes' after a win or. A loud, hearty 'Outta here!' ringing over the PA system after every Phillies' home run. Harry's still with us in spirit, for every game. But, with this statue, a permanent reminder of what Harry meant to the Phillies and the city of Philadelphia, as lifelike as it is, it appears, even if for a second, that Harry's still here in person. And that's enough for everyone.