AP Photo/David Zalubowski
The title of this one really says it all. This was the last time Harry Kalas welcomed us to a Phillies broadcast. This was the last time he yelled “Outta here!” to proclaim a Phillies home run. This was the last time he said “Phillies win.” This was the final goodbye. At the time, we had no idea these were to be our final memories of Harry. And what a game it was to be a last, if there had to be, for Harry Kalas.
The Phillies were coming off a win the night before, after starting off 1-3 on the season. It was just the sixth game of the year, so other teams and division rank didn’t really matter, but a Phillies win in April was always nice. With a win that day the Phillies would return to .500 on the season at 3-3. Chan Ho Park was entering his first start, and it was over before he could even blink. Park retired the first batter, then allowed the next five batters to reach, four hits and a walk, and four runs across in the first. The Phillies answered the next inning, as Raul Ibanez singled home Ryan Howard to trim the lead to three. Dexter Fowler led off the bottom of the second with a home run, and it was 5-1 Rockies at the end of the second. Park’s day ended after 3.1 innings, but the bullpen held the Rockies to two hits and two walks the rest of the way. The Phillies went to work on the lead, and were able to cut it in half. Jayson Werth singled home Chase Utley in both the fourth and sixth innings. The Phillies entered the eighth still trailing by two, then the comeback team we know came out. Chase Utley lined a two-run homer to right to tie the game in the eighth. Then in the ninth, the final “Outta here!” was heard all over the Delaware Valley, when Matt Stairs blasted a game-winning two-run shot to right-center field. Brad Lidge worked a save, even after allowing a hit and a walk, by getting Troy Tulowitzki to ground out weakly to Utley. With that, Harry’s final call was complete.
This game may be unfairly remembered solely for Harry Kalas’ final call, when in reality it was a memorable game for ending in a comeback that pushed the Phillies’ young season to .500, and they never looked back from there. The Phillies would borderline the .500 mark for the next few weeks, but once April was over, they were above .500 by a marginal distance the remainder of the season. The game was almost a reminder of Matt Stairs’ heroics, as if we’d forgotten the NLCS, and brought everyone back to October for just a moment. This was one of the early comebacks of the season, the first earned by timely hitting, and was just a small preview for things to come in 2009.
Harry Kalas may have been the most beloved figure in all of Philadelphia sports. Little did we know as we watched and listened to Matt Stairs’ game-winning homer that it was the last home run call for Harry. It seems different to look back on this game, after all the games without Harry this season. This game ranks eighth for two reasons. One is the comeback fight of the Fightin’ Phils. The other is Harry. This game says more about him than it does the actual game that was played. After all, that’s what we remember most about this game, the eighth ranked game on Games of the Year: 2009.