Phillies players recall Kalas fondly

Phillies players recall Kalas fondly

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies paid their respects to the late Harry Kalas on Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

Though it meant some players had to arrive at the ballpark earlier than usual, this was a no-brainer. Kalas, 73, passed away on Monday.

For Jamie Moyer, agreeing to speak at the memorial service for the beloved Phillies Hall of Fame announcer was an easy decision. The 46-year-old Moyer, who grew up in nearby Souderton before attending Saint Joseph's University, skipped school to attend the parade when the Phillies won the World Series in 1980.

"I was honored to do it," Moyer said. "In that type of situation, it was very special to me to talk about my feelings for a person [we're] grieving for. It was not an easy thing to do, but I enjoyed doing it. It was my way of grieving."

Harry Kalas, 1936-2009

Not many announcers have a way of connecting with the players, but Kalas connected with everyone. No one disliked him. No one was wary of him.

"I just think he was real," Moyer said. "What you saw every day, who he was -- well, he was real. There was always a pleasantness about him. There was no underlying motive. He was real. There were no barriers."

It didn't matter if you were an All-Star or the latest player recalled from Triple-A. Kalas was true to everyone.

"During the service, you could hear some players sniffling and fighting their emotions," Phillies reliever Clay Condrey said. "Harry was a special guy. He was genuine."

Greg Dobbs remembered the first time he met Kalas.

"I was in Spring Training a couple of years ago, trying to make an impact, and I hear Harry coming from behind saying, 'Dobbsy,'" Dobbs said. "The voice was so recognizable. When I made the team and I hit my first homer, I wanted to see it, so I could hear Harry's call. I feel honored to have met him."

The same goes for rookie catcher Lou Marson.

Marson homered in his first Major League start on the final day of the regular season.

"I remember hearing the call," Marson said. "It was definitely an honor and was very special to me."

It was also special to Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who built a strong bond with Kalas.

"He was a very popular guy," Manuel said. "He was well-liked. I think you saw all that. He was an amazing person."

Andy Jasner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.