Friday, February 7, 2014


Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen recalling his sometime contributing partner Ralph Kiner, as quoted by Richard Sandomir in the New York Times:  “'All I can tell you,” Cohen said, “is that there was no time that he worked a game when we didn’t think it was the best day of the week.'”

One of the great home run hitters in major league baseball history, Kiner broadcast Mets games for 50 years, from the franchise's debut in 1962.

Two wonderful moments in his broadcast career were
(1) this exchange, recounted in Bruce Weber's Times obituary,

was with Mets catcher Clarence "Choo Choo" Coleman on his inimitable post-game show Kiner's Korner:  Asked Ralph: “'What’s your wife’s name, and what’s she like?” Coleman replied, “Her name is Mrs. Coleman — and she likes me, bub.'”

(2)  Passed on by another longtime broadcast partner of Kiner's, Tim McCarver to Sandomir, occurred when Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Janet Leigh visited the broadcast booth.  Kiner took Jamie Lee aside and quietly said, "‘Jamie Lee, my name’s Ralph Kiner, and you were just introduced to us and I wanted to tell you that I used to date your mother.’ And she throws her arms around his neck and says, ‘Daddy!’ "
Uncharacteristically, Kiner was speechless.

Kiner, whom I met several times during my days covering the Mets for WCBS Newsradio 88, and WCBS-TV (Channel 2) in New York, was as kind, friendly, intelligent, and completely unpretentious a fellow as I ever met. 

As my good friend, the former Met outfielder Ron Swoboda, whose dedication to the game had made him a perpetual Kiner favorite said, "Kiner was a gem of a guy whose brain was as sharp as the stories he told.  He knew where all the bodies were buried, which made the stories he told off-camera even better." 

I wish I had heard some.

Kiner's passing, at 91, precedes by just a few days the arrival of pitchers and catchers at baseball training camps in Florida and Arizona.  Folks in Heaven are delighted that Kiner's Korner, filled with Ralph's insights into the first season since 1946 that will start without him, has risen their way.

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