Mar 28, 2011, 7:43 PM EDT
Harry the K would have been 75 years young today. He was born on March 26, 1936. In a perfect world the Phanatic would be making preparations to storm into the broadcast booth down in Clearwater to deliver a birthday cake to HK. Alas, we’re left to remember the comforting sound of the voice that provided the soundtrack of summer.
With the Phillies set to embark on the most highly anticipated season in franchise history I can’t help but think about how much Harry Kalas would have loved calling these games. Selfishly, how much would you have loved to hear Harry Kalas call these games?
I have no doubt Harry would have found a way to put a positive spin on the injury marred spring training the Phils have endured. No Utley? No Lidge? No worries. Harry could have talked me into Wheels playing second and Andy Musser closing.
Well, that may be stretching it a bit, but he certainly would have made it sound better. Lord knows he talked me through an era of Phillies baseball littered with players and managers I’d rather forget.
He gave us Dick-eeee Thon and Mick-eee More-an-Dee-Niii. He gave us Michael Jack Schmidt and Outta Here.
I can still hear him accept the “…and for play-by-play, here’s Harry” handoff from Wheels at the top of the seventh by saying “Ok, thank you Wheels”. He’d then give a quick rundown of whichever reliever had just entered the game (“Toby Borland takes over for Mike Mimbs. Borland’s 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA…”). It was clockwork. It was comforting.
One of my favorite recurring Harry bits was when the Phils would enter the 9th down a run and needing to stage a rally. Inevitably the opposing closer would fall behind in the count and Harry would slowly build the hope that they’d find a way to win. He’d start off with a fairly innocuous call like “Relaford takes low for a ball, one and nothing.”
The second pitch would miss too and Harry would kick the drama up a notch by saying “Lowwww. Ball. Two. Two and nothing to Relaford.” He’d then admonish Desi to take a pitch, and when that pitch missed he would make it seem like a foregone conclusion that the Phils would rally to win the game. It was the best.
He was the best.
Considering all that he’s given to Phillies fans I figured there was only one right way to commemorate what would have been his 75th birthday. These are two gifts he provided to us. It’d be a shame not to enjoy them.
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