Kalas is mourned inside baseball and out

Kalas threw out the first pitch when the Phillies got their 2008 World Series rings. "No one will ever be able to match the joy Harry and Richie Ashburn brought to our fans for all those years," Phils chairman Bill Giles said.
Kalas threw out the first pitch when the Phillies got their 2008 World Series rings. "No one will ever be able to match the joy Harry and Richie Ashburn brought to our fans for all those years," Phils chairman Bill Giles said.
Posted: April 14, 2009

Members of the Phillies' family and notables elsewhere in baseball were joined by individuals from other professions yesterday in reacting to the sudden death of Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas.

Phillies chairman Bill Giles: "Hall of Fame Harry was a special friend of mine and my family for 44 years. Baseball broadcasters become an integral part of baseball fans' families. They are in the homes of fans every day for the entire season.

"No one will ever be able to match the joy Harry and Richie Ashburn brought to our fans for all those years. He had a great voice, understood and loved the game, and loved people. That's why I brought him here in 1971. My family and I and all of our fans will always have a place in our hearts for Harry."

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig:"Baseball announcers have a special bond with their audience, and Harry represented the best of baseball not only to the fans of the Phillies, but to fans everywhere."

Former Phillies slugger John Kruk: "Harry Kalas is the Phillies. The fans lost a friend, and [those who spent time with him] lost more than that. We lost a family member."

Former reliever and now broadcaster Mitch Williams: "It was an honor to have Harry call any play I ever made. The fact that he called me Mitchy-poo on air . . . I didn't want anyone to know about that nickname, but somehow with Harry it was OK. He is probably one of two announcers that you didn't have to see to know who it was. He was the best!"

Former Phillies manager Danny Ozark: "I first got to know Harry when I was managing Spokane in the Pacific Coast League. He had started his career in Hawaii in the same league. He loved the game of baseball back then. When I got to Philadelphia, I learned first-hand how much he loved the Phillies and their fans. He was a great human being with a great voice. He will be sorely missed by millions of fans."

Former Phillies slugger Greg Luzinski: "We came up together. In my mind he was the Philadelphia Phillies. I've never heard a voice like his, and I never will again. He was not only a great person, but a great friend."

Former Phillie Greg Gross, currently the hitting coach for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs of the International League: "I spent my whole baseball life listening to Harry. All the highlights . . . he had such a distinctive voice. He was a fan favorite and a favorite of all the players, too. He will be missed."

Longtime broadcasting colleague Andy Musser: "Harry was as good a colleague as any sportscaster could hope to have. He was easy to get along with, and I certainly enjoyed my 26 years sharing the booth with Harry.

"When I joined the Phillies in 1976, I had been a sportscaster in Philadelphia doing Eagles and 76ers games, and although I had been a baseball fan since my youth, I had never really broadcast the game. Harry showed me the ropes like only he could. I am more than grateful and will miss him every day I am fortunate enough to remain on this earth."

Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully: "He was not only a multitalented fellow with a wonderful voice, he was a lovely guy. I mean, everybody liked Harry.

"The city of Philadelphia will just be in mourning because they loved him so much. I'm happy for him that his team was world champions last year, so he had the thrill of that."

Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman: "I always find it interesting when a celebrity passes away, and people are so quick to say, 'He was a great actor,' or 'He was a great broadcaster.' Harry Kalas was a great person. As much as we will remember Harry as a broadcaster, many of us will remember him even more as being a hell of a guy."

Jim Gardner, news anchor for WPVI TV (Ch. 6): "For me, he was the voice that meant the Phillies. For me, baseball always brought you back to your youth.

"He spoke the language of your youth. Whether the Phillies were winning or losing, you could hear the love of baseball and the love of the Phillies in Harry's voice. It is a very sad day."

Penn State football coach Joe Paterno: "Harry did a wonderful job for Philadelphia in everything he did. He was fair in his reporting and enthusiastic about the games he covered."

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