RIP Ralph Kiner


The picture tweeted by the official Mets Twitter account.

Long time Mets broadcaster and Hall of Fame outfielder Ralph Kiner has passed away at the age of 91 due to natural causes.

Mets chairman Fred Wilpon reased a 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 12 grandchildren. Our sport and society today lost one of the all-time greats.”

There are no words I can put together to pay proper tribute to the man. He was the voice of my summers growing up, along with Bob Murphy. When I heard their voices in March, I knew baseball was back.

He taught me the basics of how to play the game, and opened my eyes to the techniques of hitting that I’d never considered before. He also taught me about the history of the game. I learned of the likes of 3 Finger Mordecai Brown, Heinie Manush, and other colorful characters from the past (or at least the ones with colorful names), and got an idea of what baseball was like long before there was such a thing as Shea Stadium or the Mets.

When I worked for WWOR, the Mets production staff always had good things to say about Ralph. They saw him as a genuine, warm, and kind individual. They weren’t just saying that – believe me, they didn’t always have the same things to say about other broadcasters who passed through the booth.

He was one of the premier power hitters of his time when he played with the Pirates. Like most players from his generation, he served in WWII as a pilot, and oh yeah, he also dated Elizabeth Taylor.

The Mets community and major league baseball lost a great one today. Thanks for everything you did, Ralph.

Feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section (as always).

Paul is a freelance writer, blogger, and broadcast technology professional residing in Denver. A New Jersey native, he is a long-suffering Mets fan, a recently-happy Giants fan, and bewildered Islanders fan. He's also a fair-weather Avalanche and Rockies supporter. In his spare time, he enjoys the three Gs: Golf, Guitars, and Games.
  1. Alison February 6, 2014 at 5:38 pm
    Excellent post. Thank you for sharing. Ralph was beloved & he will be missed <3
  2. friend February 6, 2014 at 5:56 pm
    Kount me among those in Kiner’s Korner.
  3. Rev.Al February 6, 2014 at 6:05 pm
    As Rev.Al I say Amen to your excellent post.Well done.
  4. Rev.Al February 6, 2014 at 6:07 pm
    As Rev.Al I say Amen to your excellent post .Well done.
  5. DaveSchneck February 6, 2014 at 6:18 pm
    Great job. Ralph’s voice impacted many of us as we grew up with baseball and the Mets. It’s a sad day but memories of Ralph will always put a smile on my face.
  6. NormE February 6, 2014 at 6:39 pm
    Ralph Kiner was knowledgeable and funny. I have great memories of his stories about Branch Rickey (Mr. Rickey).
    Whenever Dave Kingman tried to lay down a bunt you knew that Ralph was really trying to restrain himself but his disdain
    was evident and humorous. His malaprops were always warmly remembered.
    A nod should be given to Gary Cohen, who helped to make Ralph’s later years in the booth a joy.
    With Lindsay, Murph and Ralph gone, a cherished part of my younger days as a Mets fan is now but a memory.
  7. Murder Slim February 6, 2014 at 9:43 pm
    You’ve summed it up beautifully, Paul. I loved listening to Kiner’s stories and they have been continued to be a highlight of Mets’ broadcasts for so many years.
    He was warm without being too sappy, and insightful without being too cynical. It’s also great to hear he was a nice guy behind the scenes too.
  8. jgills February 6, 2014 at 10:34 pm
    I’ll always remember my grandfather and I staying tuned to watch Kiner’s Korner. Ralph was the last connection to the wonderful summers back in the 70’s.

    Godspeed Mr. Kiner.

  9. Dan42 February 7, 2014 at 5:18 am
    He will be missed. Thank you Paul for the thoughtful article to summarize some of the important parts of his long and fulfilling life.
  10. Jeff February 7, 2014 at 10:59 am
    Ralph Kiner, RIP. Like the others, I grew up listening to Ralph, Bob Murphy, and Lindsey Nelson (remember the jackets?). I’ll never forget the malaprops – Darryl Blackberry and Gary Cooper (AKA, Carter).
  11. Jujo February 7, 2014 at 11:06 am
    I feel another piece of my innocence has past. Back when Kiner, Murphy and Nelson were broadcasting, their humility and spirit kept things interesting for loyal Mets fans, even when there were some tough times. Ralph, along with Bob and Lindsey are truly missed as well as our Mets heroes who have passed as well (like Carter, Agee, Clendenon). Lets hope that the 2014 Mets team and announcers remember how well Kiner served and embody the same values our children can cherish like we did as older Mets fans.
  12. DanB February 7, 2014 at 7:10 pm
    Here is just a partial list of Ralph Kiner quotes. “I think one of the most difficult things for anyone who’s played baseball is to accept the fact that maybe the players today are playing just as well as ever.”
    “All of his saves have come in relief appearances.”
    “Cadillacs are down at the end of the bat.”
    “If Casey Stengel were alive today, he’d be spinning in his grave.”
    “Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water. The other third is covered by Garry Maddox.”
    Mixed in with his famous stumbles were some great insight. Even after listening to him for 50 years, he still told stories I had never heard before.
  13. argonbunnies February 7, 2014 at 9:39 pm
    Sometimes it’s easy for us Mets fans to look at our bumbling team and feel cursed. On the broadcasting front, though, we’ve been blessed beyond all reasonable expectations. We had Bob Murphy, who passed the torch to Cohen. We had Tim McCarver in his prime. And we had 52 years of Ralph Kiner. It doesn’t get much better than that.

    Thanks for everything, Ralph.

  14. Joe Janish February 8, 2014 at 11:59 am
    Well done, Paul — thanks for the walk down memory lane.
  15. Izzy February 9, 2014 at 9:42 pm
    Ralph never played a game for the Mets yet is far better loved for his broadcast career in Queens than he is for his HoF playing career in Pittsburgh. I know a very old lady who lived near Ralph in Pittsburgh and listening to her you can be sure Ralph was as good in life as he was on the field and in the booth. An incredible man. heaven will be loaded with new baseball tales.
  16. Glenn Klopfenstein February 23, 2014 at 8:27 pm
    I’ve been an avid Met fan since 1965. The one constant joy each season has been listening to Ralph Kiner. He made guest appearances up to this last baseball season of his justly celebrated life. Not only was he a great storyteller, what came through always was his generosity of soul–a wonderful man.