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DEATH IN REVIEW Phillies, ex-Astros broadcaster Kalas

DEATH IN REVIEW Phillies, ex-Astros broadcaster Kalas
Harry Kalas, who began his Hall of Fame broadcasting career with the Astros in 1965 before becoming the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies for 38 seasons, has died. He was one of Baseball's distinctive voices and a civic treasure who was beloved by even the game's most fractious fans.

Kalas, 73, collapsed in the press box at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., and was pronounced dead at George Washington University Hospital. He underwent heart surgery in February but rejoined the Phillies during spring training for his 39th year with the ballclub.

His deep, resounding voice also was a fixture of NFL Films highlights, Westwood One's NFL radio broadcasts and, in recent years, Campbell's soup commercials.

"His voice proves that God was a Baseball fan," said Curt Smith, author of Voices of the Game and Voices of Summer, which ranked Kalas 25th among the game's greatest announcers.

A recipient of the Ford Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002, Kalas had broadcast Phillies games since 1971, capped by World Series championships in 1980 and 2008.

"People in Philadelphia feel a personal sense of loss right now," NBC and MLB Network announcer Bob Costas said.

Kalas' first big league job was with the Astros from 1965 through 1970, working alongside Gene Elston and Loel Passe. His home run call during those years - an all-too-infrequent one, given the size of the Astrodome and the quality of the Astros - was, "That ball's in Astros orbit."

When Astros executive Bill Giles moved to Philadelphia, he hired Kalas to join him, and it was in Philadelphia that Kalas' career blossomed alongside former Phillies star Richie Ashburn, his broadcast partner for 27 years. The hard-to-please Philly fans grew to love the distinctive timbre of Kalas' voice and his "outta here" home run call.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 21, 2009

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