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Sox have fond memories of Kalas

Sox have fond memories of Kalas

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.

Harry Kalas, 1936-2009

"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."

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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.

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