I hate it, but the pattern of celebrities dying in threes rarely fails to disappoint. But now there is a twist. First, what happened today.
Today it came one after another and for sports lovers, particularly Tigers fans, it was shocking. The first news came early in the afternoon from Washington. Then just after 5:30 it was out of Boston. And in the early evening from an entirely different industry, but famous nonetheless, came the last news.
HARRY KALAS - 1936-2009
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Radio and TV broadcaster Harry Kalas, whose baritone delivery and signature "Outta here!" home run calls provided the soundtrack to Philadelphia baseball for nearly four decades, died Monday after collapsing in the broadcast booth before the Phillies' game against the Washington Nationals. He was 73. Familiar to millions of sports fans outside Philadelphia for his voiceover work with NFL Films, "Harry the K" was beloved at home. Since 1971, he was the man who was the bearer of news -- good and bad -- to those who followed the losingest franchise in major professional sports. The Nationals and Phillies discussed whether it would be appropriate to postpone the game, but Montgomery said Kalas "would have wanted to play the game." There was a moment of silence in Kalas' memory before the first pitch in Washington and at other baseball stadiums around the country Monday.
To a whole generation of football fans, Kalas also was a signature figure. Joining NFL Films as a narrator in 1975, he did the voiceover for "Inside the NFL" from 1977 through 2008. Kalas predecessor John Facenda "was the 'Voice of God' and Harry Kalas was the 'Voice of the People,"' NFL Films president Steve Sabol said in a written statement.
Shortly after noon Monday, Kalas was in the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park, jotting down the Phillies' lineup so he'd be ready to help call the game. About half an hour later, he was discovered in the booth by the Phillies director of broadcasting. Kalas was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Phillies said.
MARK FIDRYCH - 1954-2009
BOSTON (AP) -- Mark Fidrych, an eccentric All-Star pitcher nicknamed "The Bird" whose career was shortened by injuries, was found dead Monday in an apparent accident at his farm. He was 54. Worcester County district attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said a family friend found Fidrych about 2:30 p.m. Monday beneath a dump truck at his Northborough, Mass., farm. He appeared to be working on the truck, Early said.
The curly-haired right-hander was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1976 when he went 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA and 24 complete games. He spent all five of his major league seasons with the Detroit Tigers, compiling a 29-19 record and a 3.10 ERA. "The entire Detroit Tigers organization was saddened to learn of the passing of former player Mark Fidrych today," the Tigers said in a statement. "Mark was beloved by Tigers fans and he was a special person with a unique personality. The Tigers send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends." Fidrych attempted a comeback in 1982 and 1983 in the Boston Red Sox organization. He pitched for their Triple A team in Pawtucket, R.I. But he never pitched in the majors after 1980 and retired in July 1983. Fidrych acquired the nickname "the Bird" because of his resemblance to the Big Bird character on the Sesame Street television show. During games, he would bend down and groom the mound with his hands, talk to the baseball and slap five with teammates in the middle of the diamond. But knee and shoulder injuries limited him to 58 major league games.
"Baseball will miss him. They missed him because he didn't have as long as a career as everybody would have liked in the first place. It's just horrible," former Orioles pitcher and Hall of Famer Jim Palmer said. "He did embrace life. I remember him trying to play golf when he couldn't play golf and enjoying every minute of it.
"He was a marvelous pitcher and I just hate to see him go."
Fidrych's first major league start was a complete game, two-hitter in which he beat the Cleveland Indians 2-1. He struck out five and walked one. He won seven of his first eight decisions and was the AL starter in the All-Star game. He allowed two runs in the first inning and put runners at second and third in the second, but he got the final two outs and left after two innings trailing 2-0. The NL won 7-1. He tore knee cartilage during spring training the following year and was placed on the disabled list until May 24. He sustained a shoulder injury in July 1977. After taking a year off from pitching, he went to Pawtucket where he made his first appearance on July 3, 1982. He finished that season with a 6-8 record and 4.98 ERA on 20 games, 19 of them starts. The next season he was 2-5 with a 9.68 ERA in 12 games, including eight starts, and retired in July of that season.
MARILYN CHAMBERS - 1953-2009
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Marilyn Chambers, the pretty Ivory Snow girl who helped bring adult films into the mainstream consciousness when she starred in the explicit 1972 movie "Behind the Green Door," has died at 56.
The cause of death was not immediately known. A family friend, Peggy McGinn, said Chambers' 17-year-old daughter found the actress' body Sunday night at her home in the Los Angeles suburb of Canyon Country. Chambers was pronounced dead at the scene, the county coroner's office said Monday.
Here's the eery twist: Fidrych is the third baseball-related death going back to Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart who was killed in a car accident a few days ago. Chambers is the 2nd of the acting industry specializing in the adult genre to die since the weekend. So, if the theory holds true, a third is on the way.