Gonzo: E-mails about Harry Kalas

During batting practice, Phils pitcher Joe Blanton stands in front of a banner honoring Harry Kalas, remembered in many e-mails.
During batting practice, Phils pitcher Joe Blanton stands in front of a banner honoring Harry Kalas, remembered in many e-mails.
Posted: April 19, 2009

While thinking about how baseball will never sound the same, it's time for an all-Harry Kalas e-mail bag.

Since 1971, Phillies fans have been comfortable inviting Harry into their living rooms, cars, backyards, beach blankets and anyplace else they wanted to hear or see the game. And we were always comfortable with Harry in our presence. How many times have you heard someone say about an announcer, "That guy gets on my nerves." You never heard that about Harry.

- Greg


That was the remarkable thing about Harry. Even more impressive than his voice or his talent for calling a game was how he managed to become universally loved in Philadelphia. That's tough in any city. It's damn near impossible here. That's a truly amazing trick. Even if you never met him, he made you feel special. I don't think we'll see another person like him in this town.

- Gonzo

One can only hope that Harry and Whitey are together again. It won't be baseball around here without him. Here's to you, Harry the K. Thanks for the memories.

- Gene


Don't you love the idea of Harry and Whitey trading stories or playing golf or just goofing on each other as they once did? I pray they've been reunited and that they're enjoying each other's company again.

- Gonzo

Thank the good Lord that Outta Here got outta here with a championship.

 - Ron


I was thinking that same thing. It's terrible and sad that Harry passed. I would have liked to see him call games for another 20 years. But if he had to go, I'm glad he got to see the Phils win one more World Series. And not only that, but unlike in 1980, he got to call the Series and the final out.

After suffering through so many seasons of bad baseball, the man deserved it.

- Gonzo

Over the course of the 2009 season I cannot help but wonder if a Phillie makes a memorable play and no one hears Harry call it, did it really happen?

- Matt


Ah, the classic philosophy question, with a twist. It's going to be awfully strange. I really like the Phillies' broadcast team. They did a fantastic job when Harry was alive, and they'll continue to do so.

But for my generation, Harry was the only Phillies play-by-play man we've ever known.

How do you wean yourself off something you've been addicted to for 38 years?

- Gonzo

I'm 12 years old, and I'm a diehard Philadelphia sports fan. I'm really sad that Harry died. Ever since I can remember I have listened to Harry Kalas with my dad. They should retire the name Harry Kalas, maybe put it on a memorial jersey with the numbers being HK or something.

 - Conor


I like the idea of retiring a jersey with the letters HK. The more tributes to Harry, the better.

Incidentally, you're the second 12-year-old who's sent me an e-mail in the last two weeks. I clearly have the most 12-year-old readers of any columnist in Philly. Wonder what that says about my writing.

- Gonzo

I take offense at you lauding the Phillies' players who took a few puffs for Harry. Harry's own smoking most certainly contributed to his heart disease and death.

If you feel that way, fine, just don't print it for impressionable kids to read and think it's cool.

- Daniel


Your heart is in the right place. But you're allowing reflexive antismoking principles to cloud your judgment. Should Harry have smoked? Should anyone else? No. But that's not what that was about. It wasn't a subliminal, pro-smoking campaign by the players. It was a tribute to Harry, and it had nothing to do with promoting a vice.

Not everything is about the kids.

- Gonzo

Three Harry Haikus:

We have lost our voice

Rest in peace Harry Kalas

Long drive outta here


Summers at the Shore

his voice bounced between blankets

warm as the sunshine


Baseball baritone

Kalas calls the play by play

in echoing green

- Joe

A friend of the players and millions of fans,

Compassionate about occasional "boo-birds" roaming the stands.

Need a picture with Harry or a signature scorecard,

He always found time for fans around the ball yard.

He had "High Hopes" and would sing it for you,

"Take Me Out to the Ballgame" was a fan favorite, too.

 "Long drive, there it is, number 500 for Michael Jack Schmidt:  Could it be?"

"That ball is outta here!  Are you kidding me?"

Not allowed to call the series for the '80 champions in the fall,

Times have changed and last October, Harry made the call.

"The Phillies are the 2008 World Champions of Baseball!"

A broadcasting legend; the sound track of our team,

We lived on every word forever it seems.

A true Hall of Famer in a very special way,

We'll always remember Harry the K on Phillies game day.

From years in the booth - only one error in his game plan,

Chase Utley is "The Player"; Harry Kalas "You were the Man."

For Harry Kalas, we thank our God All Mighty,

Now he can share a pizza with his best friend Whitey.

- Jim

Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or gonzalez@phillynews.com.

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