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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Harry the K

I just finished reading "Harry the K" by Randy Miller.  It's a biography of the late Phillies broadcaster, Harry Kalas, who died in 2009.

Kalas was blessed with a great voice, and the ability to do something with it.

The book is balanced.  It spends a lot of time on Harry's faults.  He smoked too much, drank way too much, and there was a woman in just about every city in the National League.  Kalas was married twice.  He played around-- a lot.  There were a lot of late nights, and considering the way the man abused his body, it's amazing he lived to be 73.

At times like this, I'm reminded of what Dan Aykroyd said at John Belushi's funeral: "He was a good man, but a bad boy."

You don't just become a legend.  You have to work at it, and Kalas did that by helping young announcers, donating tons of time to charity, and always having time for fans.  He made Phillies games interesting and listenable, even when the team wasn't winning.

Still, it's difficult to ignore Harry's dark side.

Even people who aren't sports fans will enjoy "Harry the K."  It's the story of a man who accomplished a lot in life, in spite of more than a few stumbles along the way.

As I wrote here when Kalas passed away a couple years ago, he was the voice of summer.  As we've experienced since Kalas' death, summer hasn't been the same.