Beloved Hall of Fame Slugger RALPH KINER has died at the age of 91.
The last of the original NY Mets broadcasters has passed away at his home in Rancho Mirage, California of natural causes, surrounded by his family.
As a Pittsburgh Pirate in the 40's and 50's, Ralph won the NL homer title with 23 his rookie season and would go on to lead or tie for the lead in homers for six seasons under the tutelage of legend Hank Greenberg. A six-time NL All-Star, he had had six seasons of 100 or more RBI, including an NL-leading 127 and a career-high 54 homers in 1949.
Ralph's playing career lasted 10 years before he hung up his cleats, chalking up 369 homers, 1,015 RBI and a .279 career average. One of the most beloved New York sports figures, he served as Mets broadcaster since the teams' inception in 1962 until his retirement in 2006.
Mets CEO Fred Wilpon sadly remembered his long-time broadcaster and friend. "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."
Sharing the broadcasting duties for 17 years were Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy during which Ralph honed his skills as a master storyteller and student of the game interviewing the star of the game in his segment, “Kiner's Korner.”
As Ralph said in his 1987 autobiography "Kiner's Korner" with Newsday columnist Joe Gergen: "I've been a very fortunate man. My earliest desires to be a major league ballplayer were satisfied and the second half of my life has been even more thrilling than the first."
Ralph was married four times, including to 1950s tennis star Nancy Chaffee, who died in 2002.
His comical malaprops and love of the team earned him fans for four generations.
Mr. Met bows his head in grief as do all baseball fans. Adios, amigo.