For as long as I’ve been alive, one man has called Philadelphia Phillies games, a voice I remember from a tinny bedside radio on summer nights visiting my grandmother in South Philly, the play-by-play competing with the sounds from the narrow street below the rowhouse. He called every one of “Michael Jack” Schmidt’s 548 home runs. He was the voice of the Phillies for several generations of fans.
Harry Kalas passed away yesterday before the Phils took the field against the Washington Nationals in the Nats home opener. And, as is often the case, Bill Lyon returns to print in the Inquirer to help the city come to terms with another momentous event:
Harry the K did play-by-play, and he not only did it uncommonly well, he spared us the histrionics and the shrieking and the rudeness that pollute far too many airways these days.
Harry the K was an oasis of calm in a roiling sea of nastiness and raging negativity.
He was, of course, the property of the Phillies, but he never played the role of fawning company shill. It was the Fightin’s he wanted to win, but he credited the opponent when it was deserved.
I’m the first person to admit that I’m not much of a baseball fan and that I haven’t listened to Harry Kalas call a game in years. But even I know that Philadelphia has lost just a little bit of its soul and that Bill Lyon has helped by putting it right back.
(Image courtesy of thewestend, via a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives Licence.)