Thursday, October 15, 2009

Phillies Missing Voice

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Should the Philadelphia Phillies repeat as World Series Champions, there will be one legendary voice missing.

On April 13, 2009, legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas (73) died of heart disease in the press box before the Phillies were set to face the Washington Nationals in the nations capital. He collapsed at approximately 12:30 and was pronounced dead at 1:20 EDT at George Washington University Hospital.

That night, the Phillies defeated the Washington Nationals 9-8 without their golden voice, who was entering his 39th season with the team. The 2009 season was dedicated to the Hall of Fame announcer. The Phillies wore a patch on their jerseys and his presence was felt all over Citizens Bank Ballpark. The Phillies TV Broadcast Booth was renamed "The Harry Kalas Broadcast Booth."

Replicas of his autograph ("Harry Kalas HOF 2002) were painted on the field at Citizens Bank Ballpark in foul territory along the baselines near the coaches' boxes just beyond the first and third base for their first home series after Kalas's death. The wording of "HOF 2002" refers to his winning the Ford C Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.

There is also a billboard featuring a microphone and the words "HK 1936–2009" is displayed on the outfield wall.

It is sad to see these broadcast icons slowly passing away especially with the recent announcement that Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame Announcer Ernie Harwell, 91, now has Cancer and is likely to be the next tribute to be written.

But in this year's playoffs, there is a strong possibility that the 2009 World Series could showcase the emotional seasons of the LA Angels and Philadelphia Phillies. The Angels lost 22-year old Pitcher Nick Adenhart to a tragic fatal drunk driving auto accident.

Who does one root for? I can't answer that because it's very subjective.

But when an icon dies at 73 and a young player passes on at 22, the 51-year age differential does reinforce that life is too short and we better enjoy it while we can because we're just here for a visit.

One thing is for certain, if this series transpires, one tribute will be completely fulfilled and Adenhart and Kalas in their own ways will be never forgotten by their teammates and fans.

They'll be part of the great storied history of baseball.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com

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