Harry Kalas has called countless memorable moments in the Phillies' broadcast booth.
He said two stood out.
"Michael Jack's 500th certainly is one of them," Kalas said Friday, referring to Mike Schmidt's home-run milestone. "I followed his entire Hall of Fame career, which was an honor.
"And that 1980 league championship series against the Houston Astros. It was just perhaps one of the greatest [such series] ever, with four games going into extra innings. We needed to beat Nolan Ryan in Game 5 to get to the promised land, which we did."
Fans have a chance to listen to those and other Kalas calls in a tribute CD that Chicago Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes produced, wrote and narrated. It is part of his Baseball Voices Hall of Fame Series, which also includes tribute CDs for Harry Caray, Jack Buck, Bob Uecker and Marty Brennaman.
The Kalas CD can be found at baseballvoices.com.
"I was really impressed with it," Kalas said. "He was able to capture the passion of the Phillies fans, and the fact that we had some replays on there of some great moments in Phillies history, it was really something. I'm very honored by it."
Hughes chose Kalas for a few reasons.
"We all know about Harry Kalas," Hughes said. "The Phillies. The NFL Films. The Campbell's Soup. His voice is part of our culture. He is such a wonderful talent.
"He's somebody that we all admire in the business, not only because of his voice but because of how hard he works and how nice he is to people. He's been unbelievably friendly to me. But I think it's a combination of the natural God-given gift of that amazing voice and work ethic that stands out."
Creating the CD was an interesting process.
It took Hughes almost a year to complete. It was time-consuming because he had to find and comb through archived radio and TV broadcasts, which aren't always easy to obtain.
"All season long on road trips, flights and in hotel rooms, instead of just wasting time and watching reruns, I would listen to old Harry Kalas tapes," Hughes said. "The 1980 season? I love listening to those old tapes."
Hughes works with several collectors to find rare pieces. He found a clip from Kalas' first broadcast with the Houston Astros, on April 9, 1965, in an exhibition game against the New York Yankees that officially opened the Astrodome.
Kalas' first words?
"Mickey Mantle will lead off for the New York Yankees."
"To uncover a gem like that is a thrill," Hughes said.
The CD, which runs more than 63 minutes, includes memorable Kalas calls, Kalas' personal recollections of his career, and Hughes telling the story of Kalas' career in broadcasting.
"David McCullough said if you're going to be a historian, it's simple: you tell stories," Hughes said. "That's really what it is. You tell the story of the 1980 season. You tell stories about Richie Ashburn and the story of Harry growing up, the story of the first game at the Astrodome. That's what it is."
Citizens Bank Park remains a home-run ballpark.
No surprise there, right?
The Bill James Handbook 2008 listed its annual ballpark rankings, and found Citizens Bank Park to be the easiest place in the National League to hit home runs. The methodology "neutralizes the effect of a team's makeup and isolates the effects of the park. The isolation is figured by comparing what both the team and its opponents accomplished at home, and comparing that to what the same team and its opponents accomplished on the road."
The Bank had a home-run index of 145.
A 100 ranking is considered neutral, so that means it was 45 percent easier to hit a home run in Philadelphia than at any other National League ballpark last season. That ranked ahead of Great American Ball Park (133), Coors Field (119), Miller Park (114), Chase Field (111) and Wrigley Field (111).
The hardest places to homer? RFK Stadium (68), Petco Park (71), Busch Stadium (71), AT&T Park (78) and PNC Park (79).
Interestingly, the Bank had a runs index of just 103, meaning it was only slightly easier to score runs at the Bank than at other National League ballparks. One theory tossed around was that because the ballpark is so small, it was more difficult to hit singles, doubles and triples.
The Bank had a 99 hits index, 93 doubles index, and 88 triples index.
But don't expect that news to get players to start calling the Bank pitcher-friendly any time soon.
Managing the record
Bill James' handbook also has a Manager's Record chapter, which is supposed to show the differences in managers.
Charlie Manuel used 56 pinch-runners last season, which led the majors. Of course, that doesn't mean Manuel loves pinch-running. It means he often had Pat Burrell on base and Michael Bourn on the bench.
Other interesting notes about Manuel: He used 87 different lineups, the second-fewest in the majors, behind only Atlanta's Bobby Cox (86). He had 75 defensive substitutions, which ranked second in the majors, behind only Washington's Manny Acta (78). He used relievers on consecutive days 128 times, which ranked sixth in the majors. Acta led baseball with 183.
Manuel also intentionally walked 62 batters, which ranked second in the majors to Cox (89). Forty-one times Manuel intentionally walked a hitter, it worked out perfectly. No runs scored after the intentional walk. Twenty-one times one run scored, and 16 times more than one run scored. Those 16 times led the majors, with Cox and Florida's Fredi Gonzalez.
The biggest loser
There's no question Roger Clemens took the biggest hit from the Mitchell report.
Could it cost him a place in the Hall of Fame?
ESPN.com polled 80 Hall of Fame voters, and the results were mixed. Twenty-eight voters (35 percent) said they would vote Clemens into the Hall if elections were held today. Twenty-one voters (26.3 percent) said they would not vote for Clemens, and 31 (38.8 percent) were undecided.
It takes 75 percent of the vote to be inducted.