Results tagged ‘ Ralph Kiner ’
Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, a Mets broadcaster since the team’s inception in 1962, passed away Thursday at age 91. Marty Noble’s obituary on Kiner sums up how the baseball world felt about him.
Here are some additional reflections from around the game on Kiner’s passing:
Mets owner Fred Wilpon: “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 12 grandchildren. Our sport and society today lost one of the all-time greats.”
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig: “Ralph Kiner was one of the greatest sluggers in National League history, leading the Senior Circuit in home runs in each of the first seven years of his Hall of Fame career. His consistent power and patience in the heart of the Pirates lineup made him a member of our All-Century Team and, in many respects, a player ahead of his time.
“Ralph dominated at the plate for a decade, but his contributions to our National Pastime spanned generations. For 52 years, Ralph was a one-of-a-kind voice of the Mets, linking baseball’s unparalleled history to New York’s new National League franchise since its very inception.
“I am grateful that I recently had the opportunity to visit with Ralph, whose lifetime of service to Baseball will always be treasured by the fans of Pittsburgh, New York and beyond. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to his five children, his 12 grandchildren, his friends throughout our game and his admirers everywhere.”
Mets Hall of Famer Tom Seaver: “He was a jewel. He loved the game of baseball. He loved to see it played correctly and smartly. He loved to talk baseball. He deeply understood the game, especially hitting. “
Former Mets outfielder Rusty Staub: “He was my broadcast partner for 10 years. We had great fun during the games. We both enjoyed good food and wine. Most of all, he was one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met.”
Former Mets pitcher Al Jackson: “He was a player’s guy. We didn’t win a lot in those days. He didn’t try to hide the fact we were losing, but he did it in a nice way. I lost a lot of games in 1962 and 1963 and had no problem going on with him.”
Former Mets outfielder Ron Swoboda: “In those days we didn’t have hitting coaches. I was struggling. One September afternoon in 1969 (September 15), I asked him to come and feed balls through the pitching machine. We talked for about an hour. He gave me tips on holding the bat. That night I had the greatest night of my career. I hit two home runs off Steve Carlton and we won, 4-3.“ (Swoboda’s two two-run home runs accounted for all Mets runs on the night Carlton struck out 19).
Former Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden: “I loved going on Kiner’s Korner. I enjoyed talking baseball with Ralph, especially learning about players from his era. But what really made it special was every time you went on, you got a $100. For a rookie like me in 1984, a $100 was a big deal.”
Mets broadcaster Howie Rose: “Losing Ralph is like losing a member of the family. His warmth, humility and sense of humor will be missed. I’ll always treasure being able to share a broadcast booth with a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word.”
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Though the National Baseball Hall of Fame considers Tom Seaver the only primary Met in its annals, Seaver is far from alone in Cooperstown. Ten other Hall of Fame players wore blue and orange at some point in their careers, and when Tom Glavine (presumably) and Joe Torre take the podium this July, that number will jump to a total of 3 (not including George Weiss, an executive who was never in uniform, or Casey Stengel and Ralph Kiner, a manager and a broadcaster who only played elsewhere).
Yogi Berra (Class of 1972)
Obviously best-known as a Yankee, Berra played his final four games with the Mets in 1965, staying on as a coach and becoming their manager in 1972. He remained in that role for four seasons, winning the National League pennant in 1973.
Warren Spahn (Class of 1973)
Spahn won 356 games as a member of the Boston and Milwaukee Braves, joining the Mets in 1965 with his Hall of Fame resume already complete. He went 4-12 in Flushing at age 44, finishing out the year (and his career) with the Giants.
Willie Mays (Class of 1979)
A Giant not quite for life, Mays played out his final season and a half in New York from 1972-73. He hit only .238 with the Mets, mustering 14 home runs to increase his lifetime total to 660 — at the time the third-highest total in history.
Duke Snider (Class of 1980)
Legendary players wrapping up their careers in Flushing — seems to be a trend, doesn’t it? Following 16 Hall-worthy seasons with the Dodgers, Snider came to Queens in 1963 for one unremarkable season, then to San Francisco in 1964 for one last hurrah.
Tom Seaver (Class of 1992)
This is the one Hall of Famer Mets fans can truly call their own. Seaver rose to prominence with the Mets in the late 1960s, spending 11 years in Flushing before the ill-fated 1977 trade that sent him to the Reds. He made a Shea Stadium encore six years later, winning nine more games with the Mets for a total of 198.
Richie Ashburn (Class of 1995)
Twelve years with the Phillies, two with the Cubs and one final campaign with the Mets. But unlike the others on this list, Ashburn still had something to give when he arrived in Flushing at age 35, hitting .306 in his final big league season.
Nolan Ryan (Class of 1999)
Had the Mets not traded their homegrown flamethrower in 1971, he might have joined Seaver with a Mets cap in the Hall. As it was, Ryan went on to log another 5,000 innings or so with the Angels, Astros and Rangers, entering Cooperstown as a Ranger.
Gary Carter (Class of 2003)
Though Carter won his only World Series in New York and is perhaps most identifiable with the Mets, the bulk of his best seasons came in Montreal. For that reason, he became the first player to enter Cooperstown sporting an Expos cap.
Eddie Murray (Class of 2003)
An Orioles legend, Murray still had some pop in his bat when he came to the Mets in 1992. But he didn’t last long, playing only two seasons in Flushing before moving on to the Indians, Orioles, Angels and Dodgers.
Rickie Henderson (Class of 2009)
Henderson also had something left in the tank when he arrived in New York in 1999, stealing 42 bases in 152 games with the Mets. But that was a drop in the bucket compared to the 1,406 total he swiped over a 25-year career.
Roberto Alomar (Class of 2011)
All 12 of Alomar’s All-Star appearances and all 10 of his Gold Gloves came in the first 14 years of his career. He arrived in New York in Year 15, still durable at age 34 but a shadow of his former self.
Joe Torre (Class of 2014)
The Hall’s Veterans Committee elected Torre last month alongside Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, who will join Wednesday’s inductees on the podium come July. Despite his stellar playing career for the Braves, Cardinals and Mets, Torre became far better-known for his subsequent managerial work in the Bronx.
Tom Glavine (Class of 2014?)
We’ll know in an hour whether Tom Glavine becomes a first-ballot Hall of Famer, though it’s certainly looking that way. If it happens, it will be far more because of his 17 years in Atlanta than his five in New York.
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