When you grow up there are people you just kind of get used to “hearing” in the background. Today, part of that childhood died. Growing up those familiar voices included Phillies announcers, Richie “Whitey” Ashburn and Harry Kalas.
I remember when I was in college, walking by a television and hearing the announcement that Ashburn had passed away in his hotel room in New York.
Today, it was a phone call telling me that Harry Kalas had passed away doing what he loved most.
It is a sad, but fitting coincidence that Ashburn and Kalas died in such a similar manner. They were best friends.
So, to me, Harry Kalas’ passing isn’t just the loss of a distinctive voice that loved baseball and the Phillies, it is part of my childhood, too. All of those summers spent listening to them via the television or the radio. So much time spent on the front porch, the back deck, or while lounging on the floor–always waiting to hear, “Outta here, Michael Jack Schmidt!” Even at the many games we went to, many of us were listening to him on the radio as the games were played.
I loved their banter. I loved that they made the players real and the game, which could be slow at times, interesting.
To talk of one’s passing, just doesn’t seem right without talking about them as the partnership they were.
Rest in peace Mr. Kalas.
Wyatt has a wonderful tribute, so be sure to visit his blog, too.
Harry Kalas narrating a piece about Richie Ashburn: