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Five Years Later: Revisiting My Musical Tribute to Harry Kalas April 13, 2014

Posted by Brian in baseball, Brian Kelley, Harry Kalas, links, Music, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies, SoundCloud, sports.
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On this date five years ago, longtime Hall of Fame Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas passed away after suffering a heart attack while preparing for a 3 p.m. ET Phillies-Nationals game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

I wrote my immediate thoughts on Harry’s passing in this blog post published later that awful afternoon. Five days later, l attended an emotional memorial service for Harry that was held at Citizens Bank Park. In another post thanking the Phillies organization for allowing fans to say goodbye to Harry and putting together such a touching ceremony under such difficult circumstances, I included a song called “Sound of Summer Silenced (for Harry the K)” that I had written and recorded in the days following Harry’s passing. Unfortunately, where that song file existed online no longer exists.

Realizing the five-year anniversary of Harry’s death was approaching, I recently re-recorded some aspects of the song and re-posted it online, this time using SoundCloud. It includes some audio clips of Harry Kalas radio calls throughout the years, and I’m sure they are not covered by fair use. I’ll remove them if requested to do so, but I feel they are appropriate and add something to the song, which you can listen to in the player below.

“Sound of Summer Silenced (for Harry the K)”

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Goodbye, Harry…and thank you, Phillies April 18, 2009

Posted by Brian in baseball, Harry Kalas, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies, sports.
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This fan-made artwork was one of many tributes to Harry Kalas left outside Citizens Bank Park

This fan-made artwork was one of many tributes to Harry Kalas left outside Citizens Bank Park

I, along with many Phillies fans, paid their final respects and said goodbye to longtime broadcaster Harry Kalas at a memorial service held this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia.

My fiancee and I got on line at 8:30 a.m. and entered the third-base gate about 40 minutes later. Once through the turnstiles, I saw a table with free coffee set up on it. As a huge fan of coffee, especially a little after 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning, I was excited. However, I caught a glimpse of two people standing a bit beyond the coffee station…and I was floored.

I whispered to my fiancee, “Oh, wow! Bill Giles and David Montgomery are up there greeting everybody.”

Now, Bill Giles is one of the Phillies’ owners and is the team’s chairman. David Montgomery is president and chief executive officer of the Phillies. And they were personally shaking hands with every single person walking into the ballpark and thanking them for being there.

During the late 1990s and the early part of this decade when the Phils were pretty much dreadful, both of these men took a lot of heat from some of the very fans they were now shaking hands with on a very emotional day.

Seconds after I noticed them, a few other people on line in front of us did too…and had pretty much the same reaction as I did (“Oh, wow!”). I said to a guy in front of us, “That is real class. They did not have to do that.” He agreed.

It was the first of many first-class touches the Phillies displayed during the day. And that’s one thing I want to bring up in this post…for all-non Phillies fans out there, say what you want about Philly fans and the teams, but anytime the Phillies hold a ceremony, they always do a top-notch job with it. Some of the so-called “upper crust” teams in baseball might want to take a lesson from the Phillies on how to stage a special event.

OK…so, anyway…I was going to write a lot more, but it really comes down to this: The Phillies did a great job this week with honoring the legacy and memory of Harry Kalas. And they capped it off with an outstanding memorial service and final goodbye to an icon whose voice will echo around my mind for the rest of my life.

“Sound of Summer Silenced (for Harry the K)”

A personal memory of Harry Kalas April 13, 2009

Posted by Brian in baseball, Harry Kalas, news, Phillies, RIP.
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Harry Kalas (1936-2009)

Harry Kalas (1936-2009)

Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas collapsed at Nationals Park and later died in Washington, D.C., this afternoon, just hours before the Phillies’ game today against the Washington Nationals. He was 73.

I became a Phillies fan in April 1979 and Harry’s voice is practically embedded in my brain — something I am sure I have in common with many other die-hard Phillies fans.

I convinced my family to make the trek up to Cooperstown, N.Y., in 2002 to see Harry enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s broadcasting wing as that year’s Frick Award winner. I even shook Harry’s hand a couple of times in my life, both coming while getting his autograph. However, the second time features a pretty cool Harry the K story.

My friend, Cliff, and I were at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium to see the Phillies play in a spring exhibition game. After the game, we went up to the window of the broadcast booth to get Harry’s autograph. However, Cliff saw the people in front of us give Harry a cell phone and he was either recording a message or talking to somebody. So Cliff decides to call our friend Jimmy — a huge Phillies fan — with the hope that Harry would talk to him for a few seconds.

So we finally approach Harry. After Harry talked to us for a few seconds and signed our programs, my friend handed Harry the phone and asked him if he could just talk to our friend for a bit. Harry says, “Sure, what’s your friend’s name?” We tell him that it’s Jim…Harry takes the phone and all we hear is something like this:

“Hey, Jim, this is Harry Kalas. How are you?…Watching the NCAA Tournament, eh?…Well, take care, Jim. It’s getting late so I am outta heerrrrre!”

We again shook Harry’s hand and thanked him. Cliff puts his phone back up to his ear and hears Jimmy say this: “That was awesome. I gotta call my dad.”

Earlier today, I sent Jimmy a text message saying that I was thinking about that time. In his reply, he said “…that’s how cool Harry was. It’s like a small piece of my life is gone.”

A lot of Phillies fans feel the same way.

RIP, Harry the K…Phillies baseball will never be the same.

(Photo courtesy of Phillies.com)

Addendum

Here’s a song I wrote and recorded in the days following HK’s passing…

“Sound of Summer Silenced (for Harry the K)”

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