Legendary Mets broadcaster and Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner has died. Kiner’s family says the former slugger died at his home in California on Thursday of natural causes. He was 91.
Kiner was an original Met, joining the team in its inaugural season in 1962. The team of Kiner, Bob Murphy and Lindsay Nelson lasted 17 years until Nelson left in 1979. Murphy later retired, but Kiner remained.
Kiner stopped doing full-time broadcasting years ago, but he showed up during select games in recent years. They were always events, with Kiner telling stories like he always did. It was clear he was slowing down physically, but mentally he was always sharp.
Ralph Kiner was one of the premiere home run hitters in baseball history, slugging 369 long balls in just 10 seasons in a career that was cut short by a back condition. He had to wait until his 15th and final year to be elected to the Hall, and even then he made it by just two votes.
Kiner had a hell of a life. A baseball superstar who dated Hollywood starlets and hobnobbed with the rich and famous. A guy who knew everyone and everyone liked him. A broadcaster in New York for 50 years. Not bad at all.
In a statement the Mets said:
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.
It is hard to imagine the Mets without Ralph Kiner.