Sunday, August 14, 2011

Harry The K...What More Can You Say?

On the day when the Harry Kalas statue is to be unveiled, I can finally write about Harry. Even last year was too soon. I had the pleasure of meeting Harry twice in my life. The first time was when I was twelve years old. My Uncle Alan scored primo seats for the first game of the 1980 World Series. He gave them to my Dad to take me. Is it any wonder why my Uncle Alan is still my favorite Uncle? As my Dad and I walked the concourse we ran into Harry Kalas. I still remember my Dad asking Harry why he wasn't in the booth? Back then the National Broadcast took over, even local radio broadcasts were forbidden. When you hear Harry and his Whiteness call the final game of the 1980 series know this, what you are hearing was recorded later. The Phillies put that together so we wouldn't have to listen to Joe Garagiola make the call for the rest of eternity. Looking back, I'm sure Harry was super disappointed not to be calling the game. I know I was only 12 at the time but he could not have been nicer. He signed my ticket, an actual World Series ticket, not the reprints they give us today. That's a blog for another day. Oh, and our seats were 3 rows from the field on the 3rd base side. I also got my ticket signed by a Royals player, maybe you heard of him...George Brett. That's right, I have a World Series ticket stub somewhere in my Mom's basement signed by Hall of Famers Harry Kalas and George Brett. My brother-in-law will be rummaging through boxes after he reads this.

The second time I met Harry was in 2007. I took my kids to Pittsburgh to see the Fightin' Phils take on the Pirates. We stayed in the same hotel as the Phillies so the kids got a bunch of autographs. The players and broadcasters were very accommodating but Harry went above and beyond. He was about to get on the bus to the ballpark and stopped and talked to my kids for a solid 10 minutes. He asked were they were from, what grade they were in, who there favorite players were. He gladly signed for them. He politely excused himself and went back into the hotel. He came back out 5 minutes later, spotted my sons and said in his best broadcast voice, "Ryan and Cole from Mount Laurel New Jersey", I still get goosebumps thinking about that day.

Two encounters separated by almost 30 years and he was exactly the same. He was the most generous, warm and gracious celebrity you could ever meet. We all still miss you Harry and we always will.

Keep It Classy Philly


1 comment:

  1. ****Editors Note--due to the rain, today's game and unveiling have been postponed. The statue will now be dedicated before Tuesday's game.*****