Sox have fond memories of Kalas
Castiglione, Francona saddened by announcer's passing
OAKLAND -- The small fraternity that makes up baseball broadcasters tends to root for each other. So when Red Sox announcer Joe Castiglione saw Harry Kalas before a game against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla., back in March, he immediately told him what a thrill it was to hear the Hall of Fame announcer call the final out in Philadelphia's first World Series championship since 1980.
"In 1980, that was when networks had it exclusively and he didn't get to do [the last out]," Castiglione said. "I told him, 'I heard your last out. I was really glad you got a chance to do it.' He really relished it."
As it turns out, that was the last conversation Castiglione ever had with Kalas, who died Monday inside the broadcast booth before a Phillies-Nationals game in Washington.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona has plenty of fond memories of Kalas from the four years he spent as manager of the Phillies, form 1997-2000.
"What a sweetheart," Francona said. "A voice that is unmatched. I used to tease him all the time. I'd say, 'Harry, I feel like I hear you more in the winter than I do in the summer' because he'd be on a commercial or a football game or radio. Everybody wanted him. But he was a gentleman. Philadelphia can be a tough town, but I'm sure they'll really pour out some emotion for Harry. He's been there a long time."
Francona also has a unique remembrance of Kalas.
"He [announced] our first fantasy football draft [with the Phillies]," Francona said. "That was incredible. It was unbelievable. We didn't do a lot of good things there, but we did that pretty good."
For another broadcaster, it was hard not to be awed by Kalas.
"I loved him," said Castiglione. "He had a lot of big events. He did the first game in the Astrodome. I think he did the first game at the Vet and Citizens Bank Park. He was the voice of NFL Films. He had a great time. He loved players. He loved that '93 Phillies team."
And as much as other people tried, there was no duplicating Kalas.
"He had a classic style," Castiglione. "A lot of people mimicked him. Not on the air because you couldn't. He was unique."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.