Phillies fans know how to show love, too.

The club has accepted "with gratitude" a fan-created statue of legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas for placement at Citizens Bank Park.

"It's a wonderful likeness of Harry that really captures his spirit," said Mike Stiles, senior vice president for administration and operations.

After Kalas died in April 2009, a Facebook petition to create a statue quickly gathered more than 21,000 supporters.

That fall, professional sculptor and Lawrence Nowlan had pledged his talents; an attorney friend, Greg Veith, had set up a nonprofit called Dear Harry Inc.; and pal Todd Palmer, owner of a Phoenixville ad agency, had designed a website, www.harrykalasstatue.com.

Promotion and fund-raising followed, since about $80,000 would be needed, mostly to pay to forge the final bronze, but also to compensate Nowlan for materials and a portion of his time.

As of this afternoon, hours before a fund-raiser at McFadden's at the ballpark, the effort still needed more than $20,000, according to Suzanne Downs Norris, another Dear Harry organizer.

The club's "absolutely magnificent" thumbs-up could be just the needed boost, said Norris, a Paoli mom and educator, who was at Macy's when an email clued her in.

"I was actually shopping and I yelled, so I had to go out and contain myself," she said.

"Whitey would approve!" said Nowlan, a Merion-raised grad of Archbishop Carroll High. "What a great day. It's a great day to be a Philadelphia fan once again."

Nowlan, best known for his New York rendering of Honeymooners bus driver Ralph Kramden, spent about more than nine months, mostly full-time, he estimated, working his way from models in his Vermont studio up to the larger-than-life clay creation for immortalizing in metal.

"A group of us from the Phillies went to the Laran Bronze Foundry in Chester to see the statue for the first time a few weeks ago," Stiles said today. "We were very impressed. . . . There are interesting details that I don't want to give away. I think fans will be very excited to see this statue of Harry at the ballpark."

Where exactly has yet to be decided. No date has been chosen for an unveiling either.

The Phillies could afford to contribute, of course, but that might detract from a remarkable act of generosity.

"We accept the gift, with gratitude, in honor of the memory of our beloved colleague and friend, Harry Kalas," Stiles' announcement said.

A statue of Hall of Fame centerfielder Richie Ashburn, Kalas' longtime friend and broadcasting partner, is in Ashburn Alley, the food court at the ballpark.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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