Friday, February 7, 2014

Remembering Ralph: Tribute To A Mets Legend

The Mets baseball universe came to an abrupt stop...pause if you will, when we learned of the passing of Mets broadcasting legend Ralph Kiner.

Kiner, along with Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy, formed the famed Mets broadcast team from 1962 - 1978 - an amazing run by the broadcasting team, and an amazing era for Mets fans.

"Hello everybody, I'm Lindsey Nelson": Nelson was the first to leave the trio when he left after the 1978 season. In 1988 he was elected to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame. Nelson passed away June 10, 1995 at the age of 76.

"Back with the Happy Recap": Bob Murphy's broadcasting career with the Mets lasted an amazing 42 years (1962-2003). Murphy, who split time between radio and TV, was another Mets icon. Murphy always painted a positive picture of the game, and as a fan listening, Murphy was  like listening to your grandfather talk about the game while you were sitting at his feet on the front porch. Like Nelson, Murphy was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1994. Murphy passed away from lung cancer on August 3, 2004, shortly after his retirement.

"Hello, everybody. Welcome to Kiner's Corner. This is....uh. I'm...uh": Ralph Kiner. Just saying the name draws a multitude of emotions. The two most prevalent emotions that come to mind are: his Kinerisms and his knowledge of the game and his ability to tell stories of yesteryear. Kiner, like Murphy and Nelson, was a Mets mainstay, with his tenure being the longest. Kiner was with the Mets from day one in 1962 until last season. Over the last many season's Kiner would appear periodically on Mets broadcasts. It was great listening to Gary Cohen and Howie Rose, ultimate Mets fans, just listen in  awe as Kiner told of the days of times past. Even at the age of 91, Kiner could still see flaws in a players swing at the plate. The man was a PhD in the art of hitting. 

With Kiner's death yesterday, at the age of 91, a chapter in Mets history is closed. Unlike his broadcasting brethren (Nelson and Murphy), Kiner is the only one not elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a broadcaster, which is a crime. Although he earned enshrinement to the Hall as a player, Kiner has been overlooked for his remarkable announcing abilities which is a crime. He is broadcasting's Gil Hodges.

I was fortunate to have grown up listening to the trio, and I remember how bummed I was when Nelson left, opening the door for Steve Albert. Murphy, Nelson, and Kiner were the Mets Trinity. For those reading this post who were too young (or not yet born) to have spent your summers listening to and watching the Mets Trinity, you missed out. Gary, Keith, and Ron are awesome, and possibly the best in the game right now, but they are not (yet) the Mets Trinity. That's how special the original Mets broadcasters were.

Ralph is now in God's broadcast booth, probably telling God the tales of time spent with starlets and baseball stars from the 1940's.

Rest in peace will be sorely missed.


  • "All of his saves have come in relief appearances"
  • "All of the Mets road wins against the Dodgers this year occurred at Dodger Stadium."
  • "If Casey Stengel were alive today, he'd be spinning in his grave."
  • "Kevin McReynolds stops at third and he scores."
  • "On Fathers Day, we again wish you all happy birthday."
  • "Solo homers usually come with no one on base."
  • "The Hall of Fame ceremonies are on the thirty-first and thirty-second of July."
  • "Tony Gwynn was named player of the year for April."
  • "This one deep to right and it is way back, going, going, it is gone, no off of the top of the wall."
  • "Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water. The other third is covered by Garry Maddox."

Sources: Baseball Almanac

1 comment:

Long Island Met Fan said...

very nice...dont forget calling Gary Carter ..Gary Cooper.. He also once called himself Ralph Korner.