RIP: Harry Kalas, Voice Of The Phillies, Dead At 73

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[Photo by jasonford]

INQUIRER: Harry Kalas, the Phillies’ Hall of Fame announcer, died at 1:20 p.m. today, the Phillies announced. Mr. Kalas collapsed in the press box at Nationals Stadium in Washington at about 12:30 p.m. and was rushed to George Washington University Medial Center. The cause of the death was not announced. Today’s game against the Nationals will be played, but the team will not visit the White House tomorrow. MORE

PREVIOUSLY: Legendary Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas has been taken by ambulance to a Washington area hospital after he was found passed out in the press box at Nationals Park. Team president David Montgomery said Kalas, 73, was found at about 12:30 p.m. by Rob Brooks, the Phillies’ director of broadcasting. Emergency medical personnel were called and took Kalas to George Washington University Hospital. Team president David Montgomery characterized the situation as “serious,” but did not have any further information. MORE

HARRY KALAS: High Hopes

WIKIPEDIA: Kalas’ familiar home run call was “Swing…and a long drive, watch this baby, outta here! Home phillies_kids.thumbnail.jpgrun <insert player’s name here>” If it was a gigantic home run, he sometimes inserted “deep center field” after “and a long drive” and described 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, 1987, when Mike Schmidt hit his 500th career home run:

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:

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 kalas.jpgthe 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 1981. MORE

WHYY: Hometown Legends: Harry Kalas (1936-2009)

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