WASHINGTON—Radio and TV broadcaster Harry Kalas, whose signature "Outta here!" home run calls provided the soundtrack to Philadelphia baseball since 1971, died Monday after collapsing in the broadcast booth before the Phillies' game against the Washington Nationals. He was 73.
"We lost our voice today," Phillies president David Montgomery said. "He has loved our game and made just a tremendous contribution to our sport and certainly to our organization."
When the Phillies won their second World Series title last fall, Kalas - who normally called only the middle three innings on radio - was in the booth for the last out of the clincher. He then joined the on-field celebration, grabbing a microphone to sing Frank Sinatra's "High Hopes."
The Phillies were to meet President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday to be honored as World Series champions, but the event was postponed.
Kalas didn't get to call the final out of Philadelphia's title in 1980 because Major League Baseball prevented local broadcasts of World Series games. Phillies fans complained and the rule was changed.
A 2002 recipient of the Baseball Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award for his contributions to the game, Kalas was one of the last longtime announcers closely associated with one city.
The Nationals and Phillies discussed whether it would be appropriate to postpone the game, but Montgomery said Kalas "would have wanted to play the game." There was a moment of silence in Kalas' memory before the first pitch in Washington and at other baseball stadiums around the country Monday.
Kalas also was the voice for Chunky Soup commercials and Animal Planet's annual tongue-in-cheek Super Bowl competitor, the Puppy Bowl.
Shortly after noon Monday, Kalas was in the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park, jotting down the Phillies' lineup so he'd be ready to help call the game. About half an hour later, he was discovered in the booth by the Phillies director of broadcasting. Kalas was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Phillies said.
Kalas is survived by his wife and three sons, including one - Todd - who is a broadcaster for the Tampa Bay Rays. Funeral arrangements are pending.
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