A tour of the house, now for sale, where Kalas lived
Yesterday would have been a rare summer day off for Harry Kalas, the legendary broadcaster who never seemed to relish inactivity for long.
With Charlie Manuel managing the National League and five Phillies ready to play, Kalas would undoubtedly have been watching last night's All Star Game on the 32-inch flat-screen TV in the den/office of the Delaware County house that he shared with his wife, Eileen, and that's now up for sale.
He might have sat in the big leather chair at the built-in wooden desk that real estate brokers and agents got to see on a tour of the house yesterday, or maybe on the leather couch beneath a mirror and a shelf with a little American flag and an old-fashioned clock.
Near the TV, a leaded-glass window offers a view of the land next to Ridley Creek State Park on which the house, which the Kalases bought in 1986, is situated, surrounded by gardens filled with Shasta daisies, purple cornflowers, and other perennials over which Eileen Kalas presides.
Harry Kalas might have looked out at the brilliant, almost cloudless sky and thought that it was, indeed, a perfect day for baseball.
It's been three months since he died, and Eileen Kalas, who is planning to move first to Delaware and then out West, has put their 41-year-old brick-and-frame rancher in Upper Providence Township on the market for $625,000. Real estate types visited yesterday for the first time; they were greeted with Phillies franks, soft pretzels, beer, and bottled water.
Harry, who loved a crowd, would have been thrilled. By 3 p.m., with 90 minutes to go, more than 150 agents and brokers had toured every inch of the place.
Eileen Kalas, who prefers to remain out of the limelight, spent several weeks getting the place ready for showing, said Christine Clark, the Long & Foster Real Estate agent handling the sale.
"We didn't even get the chance to take professional photographs until this morning," Clark said apologetically as she led a visitor through the kind of house you would have expected Harry Kalas to live in.
It's a simple house - most of the Phillies' stars probably live in bigger, newer, more ostentatious digs. From the outside, it looks like everyman's house. Inside, you can tell what was Eileen's, what was Harry's, and what might have been compromise.
The carpet on the floor of the basement laundry room was hers: "She didn't want cold feet in the winter," Clark said.
The black bear standing in the corner of the paneled basement family room - across from the bar known as "Kalas' Korner" - was likely Harry's. He called it the "entertainment room," according to Eileen Kalas. A player piano used to stand near the bear instead of the leather sofa now there.
"Harry spent hours listening to that piano," Clark said Eileen Kalas told her. After he died, his wife gave it "to a close family friend."
A sign above the stairs to the basement reads, "It's a wonderful life." Maybe that said it all for the couple and their three sons.
The kitchen has a lot of Phillies red: the retro Northstar refrigerator, the trash can, the lobster in the leaded-glass window, the tea kettle, the paper-towel holder, the hanging lamps, the frying pans. On the deck off the kitchen and living room - the one with the ramp, heated in the winter to prevent accidents, that Harry would sprint down to the car in the driveway - four red chairs surround a table with a red umbrella.
The basement kitchen, too, is a study in red - red stove, red chairs, red leather sofas, and lots of red Coca-Cola memorabilia. There are Phillies souvenirs, as well, including a Louisville Slugger signed by John Kruk and a Phillies Encyclopedia on the shelf above the door to Harry's office.
Off the kitchen is the "Cowboy Room," a small bedroom with paneled walls covered with family photos and mementos and several bears - one above the bed, another in the corner. Another bedroom off the family room is where the couple's youngest son, Kane, stays when he visits. In the walk-in closet, perhaps for the benefit of visitors, Eileen Kalas left open family photo albums.
"Everything is just so detailed," Clark said, from the leaded-glass windows with which they replaced the originals, to the small wooden ladder that rests on the wall-to-wall bookshelf in the living room.
Obviously, the furnishings won't be part of the sale. Those will find a new home when Eileen Kalas does.
Among the things she won't be taking is a book now sitting on the end table next to the family room's big leather sofa: My Losing Season by Pat Conroy.
"Eileen said that Harry planned to give it to President Obama but never got the chance," Clark said.
Harry Kalas died the day before he and the Phillies were to meet with the President at the White House.
Eileen Kalas is planning to send the book to Obama, for Harry.
Contact real estate writer Alan J. Heavens at 215-854-2472 or firstname.lastname@example.org.