"Harry Kalas. He's household," said Phillies Hall of Famer, Mike Schmidt Friday at Citizens Bank Park. "He's a household name. He's a guy they depended on for 40 years. I'm just a guy that played for 17 of them, just like all the other Phillies. We come and go. The guys there are here now, they're going to be gone. We're all going to move on. Harry was just always here. He was always here for you."
Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas was honored by the Philadelphia Phillies in a moving ceremony before the game against San Diego. It was the first home game since Kalas' death.
Kalas died of a heart attack Monday in Washington after collapsing in the broadcast booth before a Phillies-Nationals game. He was 73.
After a video tribute, Kalas' three sons, Todd, Brad and Kane, threw ceremonial pitches to Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt, John Kruk and Jimmy Rollins.
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
Kane Kalas then sang the national anthem while Rollins held a pair of Kalas' customary white loafers and Chase Utley held Kalas' blue sportcoat.
"Harry Kalas, if you can look past Ben Franklin and William Penn, may have been the greatest person to grace Philadelphia in the history of the city," Schmidt said.
Citizens Bank Park was transformed into a shrine for Kalas, who joined the Phillies in 1971. A billboard with Kalas' initials around a microphone was placed on the wall in left-center field. Kalas' signature was displayed on the field behind first base and third base.
The television booth was named the Harry Kalas Broadcast Booth. A plaque with Kalas' picture was hung on the wall and it read, "That ball's outta here!"
A black drape hung in front of the Phillies radio and TV booths and the Phillies flag in Ashburn Alley was at half-mast. There was no announcer commentary during the first half-inning of the game televised by Comcast Network Philadelphia.
The 7th inning stretch turned into a standing ovation when the team played a video on the jumbotron of Kalas singing Frank Sinatra's "High Hopes."
Outside, fans continued to place flowers, pictures and other memorials honoring Kalas at Schmidt's statue.
"I'm honored that fans would think of my statue as a place to honor Harry's life," Schmidt said.
Son Todd Kalas, said the support by fans was overwhelming. "They had an incredible realtionship, my dad and Phillies fans," he said.
"He was not gonna be a good retirement candidate," Todd laughed. "He didn't really have any hobbies, his life was here. Tomorrow, I can't even imagine what it's gonna be like."
Saturday is the memorial for Harry Kalas at CBP.
The gates open at 8 a.m., fans can pay their respects on a first come, first serve basis. Kalas' casket wil be located behind home plate.
Fans will be directed to their seats before 1 p.m. so that current and former players, broadcasters, team employees and friends and family to pay their final respects. An on-field tribute will begin at 1:30 p.m.
"I think it's going to be very emotional," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.