Sad news has come to the Mets family, and the extended baseball world. This afternoon, it was learned Ralph Kiner died of natural causes at the age of ninety-one. He passed away Thursday morning at his home in California.
The Mets issued this statement:
"Ralph Kiner was one of the most beloved people in Mets history — An original Met and extraordinary gentleman. After a Hall of Fame playing career, Ralph became a treasured broadcasting icon for more than half a century. His knowledge of the game, wit, and charm entertained generations of Mets fans. Like his stories, he was one of a kind. We send our deepest condolences to Ralph’s five children and twelve grandchildren. Our sport and society today lost one of the all-time greats."
Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum offered,
"With the passing of Ralph Kiner, the baseball world has lost one of its greatest ambassadors and the Hall of Fame has lost a wonderful friend. Ralph spent eight decades as a player, executive and broadcaster. He was a man who truly loved our National Pastime and made it better in every way. His legacy will live forever in Cooperstown."
Sep 15, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Baseball fans enter the gates before the start of the New York Mets and Miami Marlins game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Born in 1922, Ralph Kiner enjoyed a ten year Hall of Fame career mostly with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a prolific home run hitter, who led the National League in home runs during the first seven years of his career, and totaled 369 overall, and twice topped 50 in a season. He led the league in RBI six times, and in slugging three times. Ralph retired in 1955, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.
After his playing career, Ralph Kiner joined with Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy to form the New York Mets original broadcast team back in 1962, and the three continued to call games together through the 1978 season.
No home game TV-broadcast was complete without an episode of Kiner’s Korner – the Mets iconic post-game show featuring host Ralph Kiner, joined by guests from the home and visiting teams. The game’s greatest players of the day routinely appeared on Kiner’s Korner, and the respect they had for their HOF host was always clearly evident.
He served the Mets broadcast booth for over fifty seasons with intelligence, charm, and possessed a never ending supply of informative, and often humorous anecdotes, as he was indeed one of the more colorful story tellers in all of baseball. Ralph Kiner will be missed something terrible by Mets fans, Pirates fans, and baseball fans alike.
I turned 47-years old this month. Mr. Kiner is all I’ve ever known as a Mets fan. Growing up, Ralph Kiner was one of the main companions of my childhood. For me, he was the voice of summer. Lindsey Nelson was the first member to leave the original broadcast team, which, as a young boy, saddened me. Lindsey, he of the colorful sports jackets, passed away in 1995. Then Bob Murphy, who made the transition into the radio booth, passed away ten years ago in 2004. Now, Mr. Kiner joins them to reform the greatest broadcast team I have ever known, and had the privilege of listening to, and learning the game of baseball from. For me personally, they set the standard. I compare all others by them.
"“It is gone, Goodbye!” – Ralph Kiner’s signature home run call."
Rest well my friend.