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Apr 13 – MLB Mourns Two More Passings

Phillies Announcer Harry Kalas and former pitcher Mark Fidrych Both Die on Monday

mlb-logo1(New York, NY) – With the world of baseball still shocked with the passing of Angels rookie Nick Adenhart, the news of the day was equally sad.  First long-time Phillies radio and TV announcer Harry Kalas, long considered the voice of the Phillies, was found dead in the broadcast booth just before the afternoon the Phils game at Washington vs. the Nationals.  He was 73.

Then out of Boston came the report that former pitching star Mark Fidrych, 54, had passed in an apparent accident with a truck at his farm in Massachusetts.

Perhaps to give all of this some context comes this from another legendary broadcaster, Vin Scully, who made this observation while reflecting on the death of Adenhart during a Dodgers game last week.

“If there is one thing I’ve learned in all my years, and I haven’t learned much,” the 81-year-old Scully told his listeners, “but the one thing I’ve learned, don’t even waste your time trying to figure out life.”

Voted into the broadcasters’ wing of the Hall of Fame in 2002, Kalas fulfilled a life’s dream last October, when he was behind the microphone for the final out of the second Phillies World Series title, which came against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Then there is the short (only 5 years and a 29-19 record) but colorful career of Mark Fidrych.  On his way to the majors, a minor league coach dubbed him “The Birdman” because the curly-haired, gangly Fidrych reminded him of Big Bird on “Sesame Street.”    By the time he made it to Tiger Stadium, the nickname had been shortened to “The Bird,”  and in one magical rookie season, 1976, a phenomenon was born.   Fidrych sprinted to the mound. When he got there, he did some landscaping, patting down the dirt. And most famously of all, he talked to the baseball, a one-way conversation in which he reminded himself of what he needed to do.

So the promising rookie, the long time storied voice, and  a character never forgotten have all left the sport they loved, too soon and so abruptly at the start of the season.   It is surely a strange time for the sport.  We will remember.

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