Skip to main content

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 71

Gene Kelly was the radio voice of the Philadelphia Phillies from 1950- 1959. Born in Brooklyn NY, Kelly pitched in the minor leagues after graduating from Marshall College in 1941. He would soon experience arm trouble, which ended his playing days. Kelly managed to continue a career in sports by turning to radio.

When legendary announcer By Saam, who pulled double duty beginning in 1939 calling both Phillies and Athletics games, moved over to the A's side exclusively, Gene Kelly was the man who would fill the void and took over as the Phillies play-by-play man.

The Phillies began broadcasting their games over the air in 1936, but until the 1950's, the broadcasters only attended home games and did not travel with the team. All road games were recreated, on the air, by the announcers who read a Western Union teletype account of the games from the studio in Philadelphia.

During the decade of the 50's, Kelly was partnered with several different broadcasters, including Claude Haring, Bill Brundige and George Walsh. In addition to the partner switches, the lineup of flagship stations was on regular rotation as well.

Kelly, who varying reports list at either 6-feet-7-inches or 6-feet-8-inches tall, spent his off-seasons calling action for the Philadelphia Warriors NBA team.

In 1959, Kelly was fired by the Phillies and would move to Cincinnati to call Reds games for a few seasons. Kelly would also continue to call basketball as well as college football and later returned to Philadelphia to become the sports director for an upstart TV station, channel 48.

Late in his career, Kelly had suffered a stroke and was left unable to do certain everyday tasks, including driving. A young future Philadelphia broadcasting legend, who wanted to do anything he could to get closer to the business, offered to drive for Kelly at no charge. That young man's name was Merrill Reese.

Kelly passed away in 1979.

____________________________________

Follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter HERE.


BallHype: hype it up!

Comments

Anonymous said…
Good summation of Gene Kelly's career. He was a first rate broadcaster who has never received the recognition due him. He replaced By Saam in 1950 and never missed a beat. Within two weeks of the season Saam was, not forgotten, but not missed either. Later, in '55 when Saam rejoined the Phils, they made shared broadcasting duties.

As you note, health problems cut his career short in Cincy and later ventures. Nonetheless, he was a terrific baseball play by play man and deserves recognition.
Anonymous said…
As I understand, his real name was not Gene Kelly. Am I correct? I remember listening to him and By Saam in the 1950's when I just started getting interested in sports. Used to listen to all the Phillies games from my home town of Wyoming, PA.
Anonymous said…
ANONYMOUS: YOU ARE CORRECT. HIS REAL NAME WAS NOT GENE KELLY. IT WAS EUGENE SLATER THIS I KNOW BECAUSE HE WAS A RELATIVE OF MINE.
Anonymous said…
To the relative of Gene Kelly, I came across an old scorebook of the 1953 phillies. Gene Kelly's personal scorebook. It is really cool, for some reason, unless pages ripped out, he doesn't start keeping score till June 24th, 1953. He has every game after that though, including the 1953 world championship between the Yanks and the Dodgers for which he kept the book. reply if you are interested in getting in touch with another..(765)426-8708

Popular posts from this blog

2022 Phillies Top Prospects Countdown: #15 Infielder Kendall Simmons

An All-Star in 2019 with the short-season Class-A Williamsport Crosscutters,  Kendall Simmons  is one of the Phillies' most promising prospects.   Simmons, an outstanding and multi-positional infielder, was the Phillies' 6th round draft pick in 2018. That year, he made his professional debut in the Rookie level Gulf Coast League, posting a .234 average with three homers and 11 RBI in 32 games. The right-handed batter tallied a .234 batting average with 12 homers, 34 RBI and five stolen bases in 51 games with Williamsport in 2019.  In the 2020-2021 off-season, Simmons played in the Australian Baseball League, making up for some of the time missed due to the cancelled 2020 season.  In 21 games with Adelaide, he notched a .172 batting average with a home run, seven RBI and three steals.  Last year, Simmons played primarily with Class A Clearwater.  With the Threshers, he recorded a .226/.321/.460 slash line in 41 games.  Listed at six-feet-two, 180 pounds, strength and athleticism

This Guy Speaks For All of You

This individual, interviewed by FOX 29 on Friday as the Phillies arrived back at Citizens Bank Park, said it best. When asked how he felt regarding the Phillies, he told Steve Keeley that he was, "Stoked, baby!" The unidentified phanatic then proclaimed, "We are talking about the Fightins here, the Fightins! Said!" Check out the media player below, as the transcribed version certainly does not do this phireball of phandom justice. The Phillies forced game 6 of the National League Championship Series with a 4-2 victory over the Giants in San Francisco on Thursday night. Game 6 will feature Roy Oswalt vs. Jonathan Sanchez in a return pitching match up from game 2. First pitch is scheduled for 7:57 pm EST at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Be sure to tune in on 97.3 ESPN's Weekend Sports Guide with Tyrone Johnson this afternoon around 1:15pm to hear me chatting about the Phillies! 97.3 is based in Atlantic City. You can listen live online HERE . _________

2022 Phillies Top Prospects Countdown: #16 RHP McKinley Moore

Moore, image- Jay Floyd Acquired this spring in a deal that sent outfielder Adam Haseley to the White Sox, righty pitcher McKinley Moore joined the Phillies organization and quickly garnered attention as a promising relief option for the future. Listed at six-feet-six, 225-pounds, Moore has an imposing, sluggerish frame.   A 14th round draft selection by the Chi Sox in 2019 out of Arkansas-Little Rock, Moore signed quickly and made his minor league debut that same year.  In 22 relief appearances in Rookie ball, Moore collected a 4.84 ERA, a .264 batting average against and three saves. In 2021, he split his season with Class A Kannapolis and Class A Advanced Winston Salem.  In 37 combined appearances, Moore tallied a 2-2 record with nine saves, a 4.20 ERA and a .234 batting average against. He also held his own in the prestigious Arizona Fall League last year, where he posted a 4.22 ERA while striking out nine and walking five in 10 2/3 innings pitched.   Considered as a flame thrower,