04/15/09 6:47 PM ET
Phils to debut 'HK' patches Thursday
Club to wear late broadcaster's initials over their hearts
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
Phillies president David Montgomery called legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas, who died Monday at 73 from heart disease, the heart and soul of the franchise.
The Phillies planned to debut the uniforms with the black circular patches Wednesday night at Nationals Park, but their game against the Nationals was postponed because of rain. The Phillies will debut the patches Thursday night instead.
"I thought about [the patch Tuesday]," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I like where it's at. I think it's great."
The Phillies seemed to be in better spirits Wednesday after a grueling Monday and a day off Tuesday.
"They really liked Harry," Manuel said of his players. "They were absolutely quiet during the game [Monday]. They got up and congratulated guys when they did something, but there wasn't very much noise. They just sat right down. You could tell things weren't going real good."
Manuel understood why.
Everybody understood why.
"Harry had a way about him," Manuel said. "His voice controlled your interest. It didn't really matter what he was saying. When he talked, his voice attracted you. I just liked to hear him. I used to watch ['Inside the NFL'] because of Harry. It wasn't because I needed to know the scores. I knew the scores. I just wanted to hear him. I just wanted to hear him deliver it. If I had something to do, I would stay in my house until it was over. And then I would do whatever I had to do.
"Everywhere we went, he was the emcee for all those speaking engagements. He was big. He was very popular. He was big time. He's bigger than the Phanatic."
The Phillies also had been scheduled to wear jerseys commemorating Jackie Robinson Day. Every player was going to wear No. 42.
It is unclear if the Phillies will wear the jerseys at some other point this season.
"Ironic, isn't it?" said left-hander Jamie Moyer, told that they would have honored two people with their uniforms Wednesday.
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins was prepared to wear specially made blue Jackie Robinson Nikes.
"I was trying to get a pair for Mr. Obama, but I couldn't get his shoe size," Rollins said.
But Kalas remained on everybody's mind Wednesday.
It is still hard to believe.
"He's been a lifer here," Moyer said. "He's just a very special man. He's touched everybody in a special way. It's not like everybody is going to tell you the same story. It seems like everybody has something positive to say. This whole thing is very sad, but as I deal with it, I can smile because there are a lot of positives. He was such a positive person, and such a positive influence."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.