Mets Broadcasting Legend Ralph Kiner Dead at 91 – Who’s Your Favorite Sports Announcer?
Having been a long suffering Mets fan since the days of Charlie Neal and Choo Choo Coleman, it gives me a touch of sorrow to note the passing of legendary Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner.
Kiner was one of the “big 3” who shared the broadcast booth with the likes of Lindsay Nelson and Bob Murphy.
You can imagine how much they had to endure watching phenomenally bad teams play season after season; and the joy they emulated upon seeing the Mets achieve success in 1969 and 1986 (although Nelson was gone by then.
Ralph Kiner, Hall-of-Fame slugger with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ’40s and ’50s who became a New York institution in his second, equally-distinguished broadcasting career with the Mets for over 40 years, died Thursday, He was 91.
As he said in his 1987 autobiography “Kiner’s Korner” with Newsday columnist Joe Gergen: “I’ve been a very fortunate man. My earliest desires to be a major league ballplayer were satisfied and the second half of my life has been even more thrilling than the first.”
He was hired in 1962, along with Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy to do both the Mets radio and TV broadcasting and that trio remained together for 17 years – a record. Kiner earned his niche as a master storyteller and student of the game and his “Kiner’s Korner” postgame show, in which he interviewed the star of the game, became a New York TV baseball staple for four decades.
But along with his unparalleled in-game storytelling ability, Kiner’s broadcasting career will also be remembered for his numerous unintentionally comical malaprops. Among them:
“All his saves have come in relief appearances.”
“On Father’s Day, we again wish you all a Happy Birthday.”
“The Mets have gotten their leadoff hitter on only once this inning.”
“There’s a lot of heredity in that family.”
“Now coming to bat for the Mets, Gary Cooper.”
“We’ll be back after this word from Manufacturers Hangover.”
“That’s the great thing about baseball, you never know what’s going on.”
His most famous line, which was not a malaprop, regarded Philadelphia Phillies’ defensively gifted center fielder, Garry Maddox in which he said: “Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water. The other third is covered by Garry Maddox.”
He was an original, that’s for sure – and yes, he will be missed.
Today, the Mets broadcast booth is in very good hands – on the TV side with Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, and Keith Hernandez – and on the radio side, as of this writing, with Howie Rose (whose recent book is a must read for any Mets fan) and Josh Lewin – assuming Mets management doesn’t totally screw with it!
In the annuls of sports, do you have a favorite sports announcer? Let’s see how many votes Joe Buck gets!