In very sad news, Hall of Fame outfielder and legendary Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner passed away earlier today at the age of 91. Kiner had been a staple of Mets broadcasts from the team's inception all the way up through this past season.
Three Ralph Kiner moments from an overstuffed life
Ballplayer, soldier, minor league general manager, broadcaster... and clotheshorse?
Kiner began his esteemed career in 1946 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he would hit 23 home runs and begin to cement a legacy as one of the game's feared sluggers. Kiner would go on to lead the league in home runs seven times, including his incredible 1949 campaign where he swatted 54 long-balls. He was a six-time National League All-Star with the Pirates, Cubs, and Indians, but his career ended after just ten seasons due to back injuries, leaving him with a total of 369 home runs and a slash line of .279/.398/.548.
After broadcasting Chicago White Sox games in 1961, Kiner was asked to join the New York Mets broadcast booth along with Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy in 1962, becoming one of the most well-regarded and beloved broadcasting figures in professional sports. The three would rotate television and radio duties, but Kiner became a fan favorite for his post-game show, "Kiner's Korner," in which he spoke to that day's heroes or villains. Kiner remained in the Mets' booth for 52 years, despite only making occasional appearances on SNY in his final few seasons.
Kiner was the beneficiary of several major honors, including his election into the Hall of Fame in 1975, being inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame in 1984, having his number retired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1987, and being honored by the Mets on "Ralph Kiner Night" at Shea Stadium in 2007.
Kiner is survived by his wife, Ann, and his three children, Michael, Scott, and Kathryn. He will be sorely missed by Mets fans everywhere, as they recount their favorite calls and stories from a baseball legend.