Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, whose playing career was marked by 369 career home runs (54 in 1957) plus a legendary comeback from a miserly Branch Rickey (“we finished last with you, we can finish last without you), and later a Mets broadcaster from their inaugural season until 2006, passed away Thursday at the age of 91.
It would not be an exaggeration to say while Gary Cohen is doing excellent work in a modern variation of Kiner’s old role, the latter provided wonderful narration for most of the Mets’ happier moments (and no shortage of embarrassing moments, too). Even in recent years, slightly hampered by Bell’s Palsy, Kiner’s occasional visits to the SNY booth made for compelling TV ; though his delivery was surely affected, Kiner’s mind remained fertile. To call him a fountain of insight is to pay too high a compliment to fountains.
My memories of Mets history are inextricably linked with Kiner’s descriptions, analysis, and his fantastic interplay with pre-pariah Tim McCarver. Much like Cohen in contemporary times, Kiner often made an otherwise unwatchable baseball team the only thing I wanted on my television. He’ll be missed, sure, but I am beyond grateful for everything he brought to Mets fans and the high standards he established.
(from March 14, 2008, “Did Ralph Kiner Try To Nail Lenny Dykstra’s Mom?”)
Sorry to rip off almost an entire post from Newsday’s Neil Best, but I think you have to file this under “too good to be true”. To wit, it contains the following elements of blogging gold : Kiner’s Korner, the dude-riffic Lenny Dykstra, and the all-important MILF factor. No mention of Ralph’s date with Liz Taylor, sadly.
I asked Rich and John Philips for their responses to a post about Len Dykstra’s post-career business success.
Wrote Rich: “I seem to remember he was on Kiner’s Korner with his mother (for some reason) and it seemed Ralph was trying to hit on her. Anyone else remember something like that or is it an urban myth or macabre nightmare?”
Wrote John: “Rich, I have that edition of Kiner’s Korner on videotape and you are correct. I was at the game that day, taped it, watched it, and decided it was a keeper. Ralph was being Mr. Smooth. He ended the interview by saying something like, ‘Well, congratulations on a great game Lenny, and for having a great-looking mom.”