Major League Baseball and its fans suffered two more losses on Monday, just four days after Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was one of three people killed in a traffic accident.
Early in the afternoon at Nationals Park, Harry Kalas collapsed in the booth while preparing for the upcoming game. He was later pronounced dead at George Washington University Hospital. He was 73 years old, and apparently died of natural causes. Kalas had complained of breathing problems for a few weeks, but remained at work right up until the end. He was one of the greatest baseball broadcasters of all time, and also the perfect voice for NFL Films. There are many ways to remember him and things to remember him by. His numerous famous sports calls will be replayed for decades to come. Kalas was a rather simplistic commentator who would call the action with that commanding voice just enough to get the point across, then let the pictures and/or sounds of the game carry it. He was truly one of a dying breed.
Of course, Harry’s son Todd Kalas, a reporter for the Rays, missed tonight’s home opener at Tropicana Field to attend to his father and his family during this time of tragedy.
Another unfortunate incident surprised the baseball world today. In Massachusetts, 54yearold Mark Fidrych was found dead having been crushed by a truck he had apparently been working on. Nicknamed “The Bird,” Fidrych was a two time AllStar who quickly hit the national spotlight in 1976 with the Detroit Tigers. Such antics as talking to the baseball and saving groundskeepers’ energy by tending to his own mound sparked interest and popularity. A slew of injuries, however, knocked him out of baseball within a few years. Content to live the quiet life, Fidrych retired to Massachusetts and became just another guy out on his farm. Despite his postbaseball normalcy, he will be forever known as one of baseball’s most abnormal characters. He leaves behind a wife and a daughter, who being just a little older than me is still too young to lose a parent this way.
R.I.P. Harry Kalas and Mark Fidrych.