Harry Kalas was the voice for generations of Phillies fans. A true institution -- the voice of summer for millions.
He was truly an icon and the respect and love that Philadelphia has for him is evident through the outpouring of kind words, the sharing of memories and a special memorial fans have started outside of Citzens Bank Park.
He called Phillies games for nearly 40 years spanning the entire era of Veterans Stadium and the opening of Citizens Bank Park. He started announcing Phillies games in 1971. Fittingly the final game he announced was a win Sunday in Colorado.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002 as the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award.
Kalas voiced more than just baseball games. He was known for his narrations for NFL Films. He also did NFL play-by-play on Westwood One.
His classic call "It's outta here" accompanied many great Phillies home runs including most of Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt's 500-plus homers.
"His voice will resonate in my mind the rest of my life. I will never be called ‘Michael Jack’ again without seeing his smile," said Schmidt.
He called no hitters by Rick Wise, Kevin Millwood, Terry Mulholland and others. He also hosted opening ceremonies at the Vet, Citizens Bank Park and the Astrodome (while he was an announcer for the Houston Astros).
Kalas always had "high hopes" (as he would often sing). Those hopes were realized last season when he called the final out of the 2008 World Series.
“There are no words to express the sadness that the entire Phillies organization is feeling with the news about Harry’s passing,” said Montgomery in a statement. “Harry was the voice of the Phillies, but he was also our heart and soul. He loved our game and called it like none other.”
The passing was felt all around the Philadelphia region.
"I am shocked and saddened by Harry Kalas' untimely and unexpected passing. He was a Philadelphia institution who made the game for countless fans," said Pa. Gov. Ed Rendell.
Kalas was named Pennsylvania Sportscaster of the year 18 times during his amazing career.
Kalas' close friend and fellow broadcaster Richie Ashburn also died while on the road covering the Phillies in 1997.
ESPN.com posted a great "Soundtrack" to Kalas' amazing career.
A moment of silence was observed in memory of Kalas before yesterday's game (which they won) against the Nationals--perhaps an angel was watching over them.
The Phillies will give fans the chance to pay their respects to Kalas during a public memorial at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday. Starting at 8 a.m., fans can say their final goodbyes to the broadcaster. Those in attendance will then be directed to seats if they wish to stay for a 1 p.m. on-field tribute.
The team will also honor Kalas in a small ceremony before Friday night's game against the Padres.
Kalas leaves behind his wife Eileen and three sons, Todd, Brad and Kane.
“The Kalas family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and affection from all of Harry’s fans and friends cross America. Especially the Phillies fans whom he loved as much as the game of baseball itself,” said the family in a statement.
In lieu of flowers, the family asked that contributions be sent in Harry’s memory to the Phillies Charities, Inc., 1 Citizens Bank Way, Philadelphia, PA 19148.
Share your memories of Kalas below.