They say bad things come in threes, but baseball fans weren't prepared for a week in the death like this. Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart (car crash, last Thursday), retired Tigers pitcher Mark Fidrych and broadcaster Harry Kalas (both today, causes TBD).
Adenhart was killed by a drunk hit-and-run driver, hours after his 2009 debut. Fidrych died on his farm, apparently of an accident. Kalas was found in the press box in Washington, hours before his visiting Phillies took on the host Nationals. He ws taken to GWU Hospital but pronounced dead at 1:20 this afternoon.
We barely knew Adenhart. The Bird pitched in fewer than 60 games because of injuries. Harry the K? Everybody knew Harry, even if they didn't know his name. They knew his voice.
Kalas was best known for his 38 years of Phillies' broadcasting (TV and radio), but also did extensive work for NFL Films, Westwood One radio (NFL games), Campbell's Soup, the Puppy Bowl, as well as work for the Astros and a wide variety of college games. Many callers to 610 WIP and 950 ESPN today said they thought of Harry as one of the family, someone who could hold their rapt attention while telling stories. Now, given the Phillies' lackluster history, most of those stories did not have happy endings. But 1980 and 2008 were special times, as was Michael Jack Schmidt's 500th home run.
Tonight, instead of showing today's Phillies-Nationals game, Comcast SportsNet is replaying last night's Phillies-Rockies game, Kalas's final game.
Hard to believe, Harry.