(From the archives — originally posted 11/5/09)
Ralph Kiner (1962-2013)
Despite his penchant for misspeaking, Kiner was an excellent announcer. Unlike today’s breed of commentator, he rarely used the word “I” when giving analysis. My favorite Kiner’s Korner moment was when he had Mookie Wilson and Danny Heep on the show, and Heep was wearing eye black. Kiner said, “Danny is wearing that to cut down on glare — he’s not trying to look like Mookie.” Classic.
Bob Murphy (1962-2003)
Murphy was just a “damn” solid old school, play-by-play guy. He wasn’t spectaular, but always steady. “Oh, those bases on balls.” Mets fans miss that.
Lindsay Nelson (1962-1978)
From the crazy jackets to the high-pitched voice, Nelson was just a whole lot of fun to listen to.
Steve Albert (1979-1981)
Albert had the unenviable, impossible task of replacing Nelson. He was doomed from the start, although I remember him doing a great job. In the spirit of full disclosure, I worked with Steve at WABC-AM more than 20 years ago, and he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever worked with. He also gave me one piece of advice by which I still live — “Never trust a man who wears a bow tie.” Having worked for noted bow tie wearers Frank Cashen with the Mets and Bill Torrey with the Islanders, he must know what he’s talking about.
Tim McCarver (1983-1998)
While his habit of beating points to death is very annoying, McCarver is still the best color guy in the game. He drew out Kiner, making him an even better analyst. When the Mets fired him and replaced him with Tom Seaver (great pitcher, lousy announcer), he was told it was because Seaver was a big part of Mets history. McCarver’s response — “I guess my 16 years doesn’t count as history.”
Rusty Staub (1986-1995)
I’ll be honest — I really don’t remember anything specific Staub’s work as an announcer. But he was my favorite player as a kid, hence his appearance on this list. Also, he was intrumental in getting his pal Keith Hernandez into broadcasting. That’s got to count for something!
Gary Thorne (1985-1988, 1994-2002)
Thorne is, in my opinion, the best play-by-play guy working today. He talks a great game, and doesn’t pull his punches. He was very critical of the Mets when the team was bad. I was actually shocked by some of the things he used to say, but everything he said was true. Management apparently didn’t agree, and they fired him. And the fact that he was replaced by the crummy Dave O’Brien added to Mets fans’ misery.
Gary Cohen (1989-Present)
Cohen moved over to the TV side in 2006, and although he looked a bit uncomfortable at first being on camera, the broadcast didn’t miss a beat. Cohen is excellent and has a wry New York sense of humor. Plus, his knowledge of Mets history is second-to-none, and that really adds a lot to the games.
Keith Hernandez (2002-Present)
Hernandez is just plain fun. He has his critics, but it’s hard to deny that when he’s not in the booth, the broadcasts feel a little off. He has no filter, which is dangerous for him, but fun for us. It’s kind of like sitting around talking baseball with your friends — anything could come out of his mouth.
Ron Darling (2006-Present)
Darling is geting better and better every year. His analysis is sharp, and so is his deceptively sly sense of humor. He had the line of the season this year, when Hernandez commented on an opposing manager’s manicure. After Cohen questioned why he noticed such things, Darling said, “You’re on your way to having your own show on Bravo.”
Mug Shots Courtesy Ultimate Mets Database, http://ultimatemets.com/mugshots.php