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Phillies announcer Kalas dies at 73

Harry Kalas, one of the most distinctive voices in sports announcing, died Mondayafter collapsing in his professional home of nearly four decades: the Phillies' broadcast booth. He was 73.

He was stricken before a game against the Nationals in Washington and died about an hour later. No cause of death was announced, but Kalas had suffered from heart problems.

"We lost our voice today,'' Phillies president David Montgomery said.

Kalas joined the Phillies in 1971 and also narrated NFL Films productions such as "Inside the NFL,'' succeeding John Facenda in the mid-1970s.

His signature "Outta here!'' on home run calls echoed through generations of fans. He also was known for calling the Phillies' Hall of Fame third baseman by his full name - Michael Jack Schmidt.

The Kalas tradition extended through the 2008 World Series, which ended in triumph for the Phillies and with him behind the mike. (He was denied calling the last out of the Phillies' 1980 championship because at the time, local broadcasts were not permitted at the Series.)

The Phillies postponed a trip to the White House scheduled for today, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

"The voice that carried all the memories since 1971, when the Vet opened, will no longer be behind the microphone,'' Tom McCarthy said on the air during yesterday's game. McCarthy left the Mets' radio booth before last season and was assumed to be Kalas' heir apparent. No one anticipated the transition coming so soon.

"Harry was the nicest man in the world,'' SNY's Gary Cohen said. "He was kind, he was gentle and he was incredibly talented. He was a ray of sunshine that's been extinguished.''

Said WFAN's Howie Rose: "It hit me like a ton of bricks. We as a broadcast group are unquestionably closer to the Phillies' broadcasters than any in the league. Harry was the most nice, unassuming, understated star broadcaster you'll ever meet.''

Vin Scully, a Dodgers announcer for 60 years, told The Associated Press: "He was a lovely guy. I mean, everybody liked Harry.''

After Shane Victorino crossed home plate after a home run yesterday, he crossed himself and pointed his index finger toward the broadcast booth at Nationals Park.

NFL Films president Steve Sabol, reflecting the emotions of NFL fans and those of the Phillies, said, "In many ways, Harry is the narrator of our memories.''

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