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Fans remember Harry Kalas

Fans remember Harry Kalas
Sister Janice Kobierowski sat at her table at the Aramingo Diner, glued to her transistor radio, hardly touching her meal.The Phillies -Nationals game was on, of course, but that was hardly the point. Sister Janice wanted to hear every tribute to Harry Kalas, her favorite broadcaster."I felt as if he was someone in my family, hearing him all those years," said Sister Janice, 75, who was out for an early dinner with her sisters Florence Kobierowski, 89, and Ann Rita Kobierowski, 87, who is also a nun.The Baseball-mad trio doesn't miss a Phillies game, and Kalas had a special place in their hearts, they said."Nobody could call it like Harry," said Sister Janice, who lives in Northeast Philadelphia."Outta here," mimicked Sister Ann Rita, also of the Northeast, smiling.They wondered if he would be buried with his ring. They said they were glad he saw the 2008 World Series and got to call one last triumphant home run, Matt Stairs' Sunday blast. They worried about how Baseball would sound without Kalas."Summer won't seem the same," said Florence, who lives in Port Richmond.Murph Wilson sat at the Aramingo's counter, nursing a cup of coffee and thinking about the early Kalas days, when Kalas was a young buck alongside another legendary announcer, By Saam.

Wilson wasn't sure then if he liked the newcomer, but Kalas' warmth and knowledge of the game eventually won him over, Wilson said."Harry was a class act, God bless his soul," said Wilson, 78, of Fishtown. "He made you feel like you were there at the game. Take you through the outfield. Take you in the infield."Wilson said he wasn't ready to watch another game yet."It's going to be heavy without Harry," he said. "It's not going to seem the same without him."Outside the Port Richmond Police Athletic League building on Clearfield Street, Jackie Metz and John Shaver traded Harry the K memories.Metz, a teacher at Hackett Elementary, promised Shaver's daughter Madison, 8, and her cousin Marissa Camillo, 7, that she would watch their soccer game, but she was so absorbed in listening to Kalas news that she almost missed it."I grew up with Harry," said Metz, 33. "He's the sound of Baseball."Metz's dad was a purist - he loved to listen to the game on the radio - and Metz has gotten into the habit, too."I'd turn the TV off and just listen to Harry's voice," she said."It would send chills through your spine," said Shaver, 34, who held daughter Danica, 2, and tried to explain who Kalas was."In the summer, when I listen to Baseball, he's the voice," Shaver told the girls.Across the street from the PAL, inside Mick's Inn, regulars lifted their glasses to Kalas.Dennis Hanratty, 72, said Kalas was more than a broadcaster."He was a friend," said Hanratty. "It'll be a long time before someone replaces him."Dennis Martin, 65, was a huge Mike Schmidt fan. For him, Harry's call made Schmidt's 500th home run in 1987 perfect."I can still see Schmidt's arms pumping up and down, and hear Harry calling it - long drive, watch that baby, 500th home run, Michael Jack Schmidt!" said Martin, taking a sip of beer. "Great announcer. Him and Richie Ashburn, a part of Philadelphia history."At the Jersey Shore, people began pouring into Chickie's & Pete's sports bar in Egg Harbor Township to share grief as they left work."We have people coming in just because they heard about it and want to be where other fans are," said manager Chris Shelden. "It's a real shock, basically."One of those fans was Bob Greene, a union painter working in Atlantic City and on his way home to Vineland. Greene said he hadn't planned on stopping at the bar until he heard the news about Kalas."I can't believe it," said Greene, 52, a fan since childhood. "It's so sad. He was truly the voice of the Phillies , and he'll be missed. I guess he took the ultimate 'outta here.' "Contact staff writer Kristen Graham at 215-854-5146 or writer Jacqueline L. Urgo contributed to this article.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 14, 2009

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