Saying goodbye to a slugger

Ralph Kiner

Baseball fans say goodbye to Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, who passed away at the age of 91 due to natural causes. Fans are invited to share their condolences and special memories in the comments below.

During his 10-year career, Kiner hit 369 home runs, winning or sharing the National League home run title in each of his first seven seasons with the Pirates. He twice topped 50 home runs, with 51 in 1947 and 54 in 1949. He averaged more than 100 RBI per season. Following his playing career, which was cut short by continuing back ailments, Kiner transitioned to the broadcast booth starting in 1962, where he would become a New York broadcast icon for the Mets.

“All of us at the Pittsburgh Pirates have heavy hearts upon learning of Ralph Kiner’s passing,” said Pirates President Frank Coonelly. “Ralph was one of the greatest players to ever wear a Pirates uniform and was a tireless ambassador for the game of baseball. He was a treasured member of the Pittsburgh community during his seven years with the Pirates. Our heartfelt sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to his children, grandchildren, other family members and many friends. He will be missed by all of us at the Pirates organization.”

Ralph Kiner“Ralph Kiner was one of the most beloved people in Mets history — an original Met and extraordinary gentleman,” said Mets Chairman Fred Wilpon. “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.”

“With the passing of Ralph Kiner, the baseball world has lost one of its greatest ambassadors and the Hall of Fame has lost a wonderful friend,” said Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “Ralph spent eight decades as a player, executive and broadcaster. He was a man who truly loved our National Pastime and made it better in every way. His legacy will live forever in Cooperstown.”

Please share your thoughts below.

190 Comments

I grew up with you, Lindsey and Bob. It was a wonderful listening to you tell your stories. You will surely be missed. RIP and God Bless

I am heartbroken. I finally became a baseball fan in 1986 after watching the World Series. I was hooked on the Mets after that. I loved Ralph and Bob Murphy and lived to watch Kiner’s Korner. When we lost Bob Murphy, my friend Laurie and I were devastated and we couldn’t even discuss the possibility of losing Ralph. Now here we are and I feel a bit lost. I watched the movie “42” the other night and one of the calls was, “and there goes Kiner on his horse.” I smiled and cried at the same time. Thank you Ralph for your class, your wit, your knowledge, your talent and so much more. Also, Laurie, wherever you are, I’m thinking of you.

RHIP Ralph you meant so much to my childhood as my buddie would join me for a 50 mile bus ride to Forbes Field for weekend doubleheaders. With the 7pm curfew, the games ended early and we could make it home for a very late dinner. We went to see you homer and were rarely disappointed especially once the Greenberg Gardens were installed. We always called them Kiner’s Gardens. Too bad Rickey the Grouch traded you so soon. Sure they lost with or without you, but attendance fell a good deal and our bus trips were less frequent. Rosey Rosewell always called you snow shoes since your feet were so large. Loved to watch you Ralph and it would have been great to hear you announce the Pirate’s games instead of the Mets. Thanks for the memories.

I’ve been a Met fan since that first game in 1962 and for me it’s not going to be the same without Ralph Kiner. He was a great player, broadcaster and he knew his baseball. I will miss him.

My condolences to the Kiner family. Thank you Ralph for making every Met game a fun and memorable experience for my friends and family. You are the best. God Bless you and your family. John

I remember watching Mets game when Ralph, Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson would broadcast 3 innings on tv and then switch to radio. Ralph was a true gentleman. Ralph had class. I remember I went to a Mets game a few years ago at Shea and I was walking to I think gate C and all of a sudden Raplh walked right in front of me. I was like “wow, that was Raplh Kiner”, the people I was with were Met fans but they were too young to remember Raplh so I had to keep the excitemnet to myself. Rest in peace Raplh!

Rest in peace Ralph…

You were a big part of my youth .. Loved Kiners Corner.. Some of the best were with Seaver… Also the young Steve Henderson ..

Many years ago I wrote a Letter to Ralph and he was kind enough to say hello to me on the air. I was living in Alaska at the time and said I would be coming home to Long Island for a class reunion. I did get to a game and saw Ralph having lunch in the Mets dinning room I followed someone in to the dinning room where a big NY city policeman tried to escort me out when I said “Ralph it’s Helen from Alaska” He told the cop to “let go of me he knew me” how kind he was to talk to me I got my picture taken with him and it’s a memory I will always treasure. He always was so kind to fans. I loved to listen to him talk he had so much baseball knowledge. He will be sorely missed.
Helen

im a met fan since 1964. ralph was like a father in how he would do the games and talk about tha old timers . may god bless his famly .and thank you with all me heart ralph for all the great times doing the met games and kiners koner. rip from ak mets and fans of baseball.

Someone on here said…they lost a voice from their childhood. Same for me. I have been a Mets fan since I can remember, thanks to my Dad’s love of the game. I used to watch and listen to every Mets game when I lived in NY. I used to keep score on my own homemade scorecards. I absolutely loved listening to Ralph Kiner, Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy. Also loved watching Kiner’s Korner. RIP Mr. Kiner and thanks for the wonderful memories.

R-I-P. We will miss you. You were a big part of our life .Thanks. Say Hi to Bob and Lindsey. Thanks for the great memoirs.

What a gentleman. I never got to see him play – and I’m 60+, but I did grow up with him as a Met fan (my Dad started to turn me back in ’62). We watch a lot of Mets TV, so Ralph (as well as Bob M and Lindsey N) became like part of the family. Even in the last few years – the times he sat in for an inning or two were always a highlight and watching Keith and Ron interact with him – often as they gave up their seat, was special. Being a frequent visitor to Citi (and Shea before) we’d sometimes catch a glimpse of him, either in the TV booth or even on the field. Ralph was simply a class act and a great baseball guy (and pretty popular with the ladies in his early years!!). We’re going to miss him, but we’ll cherish the memories.

All though I never knew Ralph personally,the news of his passing is like losing an old friend. I have literally grown up with Ralph. I have listened and watched the Mets since their beginning in1962.his stories and love of the game was surely something special.We were all so blessed to have him as long as we did.R.I.P. Mr. Kiner,till we meet again.

We have lost a great one. Not only was Ralph there for the entire history of the Mets, and he was there and a superstar participant previously from the golden age of baseball, a man who could transcend so many generations and make us each feel as though we were with him through the journey. Having had the pleasure numerous times as a kid poking around Shea to meet Ralph and watch the Kiner’s Korner broadcast from right outside the studio, I could tell you he was a super kind man, a Hall of Famer not only as a player and broadcaster, but as a human being. So it is not about baseball as a business, or whether we will win it all this year, next, or whenever, it is beauty of the game, and great one’s like Ralph who made it so wonderful from childhood to adulthood. RIP Ralph.

RIP Mr. Kiner. You were a welcome voice in my childhood and I will miss you. Thanks for stopping to give me an autograph on a very hot 4th of July 2013 as you entered Citifield to broadcast the game.

As a kid I didn’t have a great relationship with my father, the only common ground we shared was our beloved New York mets Ralph’s voice was the back drop to my childhood I couldn’t Waite for the games to end so I could watch Kiners Korner !!! Even right up to his passing whenever I would hear his voice it would bring back memories of summers past as a little boy and his voice ringing ” there’s a Deep fly ball to right field going going gone good bye” I think with Ralph’s passing a part of my childhood died as well !!! Rest In Peace Mr Kiner and thank you for all the memories you have given me I’m not sure if you ever realized the impact you had on so many peoples lives! !!!! You Sir were. Class act !!

I am a long time Mets fan. When I was young, we lived in upstate NY and did not have reception on the TV, so we listened to the radio to hear the games. The Met announcers made the game come alive for us. When we moved to Queens, we could watch the games on TV and my brother and I went to many Met games at Shea. I loved Ralph Kiner announcing the most because he actually played the game and could talk from experience. I was a girl who loved to play baseball and he talked about the women in baseball who could play as well as some of the guys. He was never one of those “Boys Club” guys. That meant a lot to me. As we both grew older, I always loved listening to Ralph talk about baseball and players in the day, when guys played for the love of the game. I felt like my dad was sitting in the living room with me. Thank you, Ralph Kiner, for all the memories. I hope you are playing ball again in heaven. If you are, say hello to my dad for me!

I have been a Mets fan from their very beginnings in 1962. Watching and listening to Ralph Kiner, Lyndsey Nelson and Bob Murphy call the games was awesome. Ralph Kiner always had so many wonderful stories to share. My Parents told me what a great home run hitter Ralph Kiner was and that in Pittsburg they named the section of the stadium where Kiner hit so many home runs Kiner’s Korner. For me, Kiner’s Korner was a great postgame show. Ralph knew so much about the game of baseball; and he was such a great interviewer. He was truly part of the Amazins.

In 1969, I became a Mets fan. Went to my first game with my Dad. I was 10 years old. On TV, Lindsey Nelson in his wild suit jackets, Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner. They were the voices of the NY Mets. Kiners Korner after every game was a must. In recent years, whenever Ralph was on TV you learned something new about the history of baseball or about a player and his stats. The man was an encyclopedia of baseball. It seemed to me that he was refusing to let age slow him down. He was a great player and an even greater broadcaster. Thank you Mr Kiner for the memories. I know you and the boys are calling games in heaven. RIP Ralph.

I was born 3 days before Ralph played his last game. Yet, in many ways, he was baseball for me as I grew up. He had a great life. He is missed by all baseball fams.

The timbre of his voice, that mellow but dramatic play by play…not at all the constant babble of sportscasters today. “A swing and a miss…” and “the bases are loaded with Mets now…”…the Cronkite of Baseball….sorely missed….

I remember watching my dad listen to the baseball game (the Mets) on the radio and hearing the phrase “Kiners Korner. Miss my dad.

Mets fans lost a lot but he taught us more . Made every game he did memorable and bearable in a bad loss . Condolences to his beloved wife . Will always remember the stories

Hanging at the hotel bar in Montreal 1989 on a road trip with my late friend Bob listening to Ralph talk baseball. Great memory RIP Ralph

I met Mr. Kiner when I was 7 years old. My dad took me to the Diamond Club for dinner after a Mets game. He was having dinner with Willie Mays and Commisioner Kuehn. What a class act. Kiners Corner was always a great show, especially after a big win. He brought all the Mets heroes to life on that show. You will be missed Mr Kiner. RIP

Had my Grandma’s 80th at Shea Stadium 14 years ago….we had tickets to the Diamond Club and waiting for the elevator to go up….met Ralph on the elevator and quickly introduced him to my Grandma. He was so gracious and signed our Green Mets hats right there (giveaway that night). He even mentioned during his broadcast that he was “beseiged by a group of fans and some of them have my autograph under those green brims.” What a guy….

Lifetime Mets fan. Age 9 in 1969. The miracle mets, along with Ralph, Lindsay, and Bob, propelled me through the rest of my life. No doubt.

Had the thrill of interviewing Ralph Kiner one day. Talked for almost 2 hours. He signed a ball for me, no problem. Shook hands, thanked him for his time. Gave him a hug and thanked him for helping me grow up through baseball stories and memories that he told throughout the years, as millions of people also can relate too.

I cried like a baby when I found out he passed away.

Ralph Kiner, true gentleman. Home Run hitter. Hall of Famer. Forever in the hearts of all Pirate and Met fans. A loss for the hearts of all baseball fans.

Rest in peace Ralph Kiner.

My Dad, a lifelong Pirates fan, met Mr. Kiner a few years ago at a benefit dinner. He was my Dad`s favorite player as a boy growing up in Pittsburgh. Mr. Kiner asked if my Dad wanted him to autograph anything for him. Dad, not really a collector of things said no, but that he just wanted to shake his hand. Mr. Kiner obliged and then the two of them stood there talking old school baseball for a few minutes. I judge people by how they treat my older parents and my child. Mr. Kiner was a true gentleman and I am so glad that my Dad, who taught me to love the game, was able to meet his boyhood baseball idol.

Growing up in Pennsylvania we used to get WWOR channel 9. I enjoyed Kiner’s corner. When I was 13 I went on my first (and only) trip to Shea Stadium. It was a long rain delayed game and we stuck around after and waited for players to get autographs. None of the big stars came out and many of the lesser players walked right by without signing anything. Out came Ralph. I thought there was no way a Hall of Famer was going to sign for us if most others ignored us. He told us if we walked to his car with him he would sign. We told him we were from PA and made the trip and how much we enjoyed listening to the Mets broadcasts. He put his stuff in his car and signed a baseball for me and was genuinely nice. He was a great ball player, a wonderful broadcaster/story teller, and a great man. He will be missed and may he rest in peace.

I had the good fortune to meet him once and get his autograph. He was enshrined in Cooperstown in 1975 and undoubtebly a hall of famer, but never too important to sign autographs or just talk to a total stranger about baseball.

I learned a lot about the game from my step-grandfather (1901-1977) who saw Babe Ruth among other greats. When Ralph retired from the day-to-day broadcasting and mainly told stories when he was in the booth, he replaced my grandfather in my 30s and early 40s–I will be 52 July 31st–born the same year as the Mets.

Aside from Pete Flynn and an usher, Ralph Kiner is the only other person involved with the Mets at the Polo Grounds, Shea Stadium, and Citi Field. We’ll think of him every time we here the cry of “Play Ball” in the borough of Queens.

I am a 53 year old life long Mets fans. Lindsey, Murph and Ralph were the sweet sounds of summer. It was the reason why I listened to west coast games with a speaker under my pillow. It was watching Kiner’s Korner to see who Ralph would talk to. It was the great chemistry that trio had. They set the bar high for future broadcast teams like our current great team of Gary, Keith and Ron. Ralph was a Hall of Fame player, announcer and overall person. I have heard so many stories over the past 24 hours about what a great person Ralph was. And as a Mets fan, I am so proud that he was ours. Rest in peace, Ralph. Enjoy that chemistry once again with Lindsey and Murph.

The world of sports has lost a figure. I have fond memories of listening to Ralph Kiner broadcasting the NY Mets games from the 1960’s. His vast knowledge of the game served as a great source for people wanting to be informed in all aspects past and present. The Mets knew they had an ambassador; he established a model for broadcasting. Yes indeed Mr.Ralph Kiner will be missed, R.I.P.
.
Felix A. Hernandez.

Went to spring training 5-7 years ago. After the game we waited a little and no one signed autographs. As we left ralph kiner was standing outside the stadium, in his 80’s, in the sunny Florida heat, signing autographs. A line formed and got big and he signed every last one of them. He was a great man and will be missed

I remember his tremendous knowledge of the Negro Leagues and the Black players from that era.

I remember was one of his last appearances in the broadcast booth with Gary, Keith, and Ron was while he didn’t sound great on the air he still was as sharpe as ever with his memory and knowledge on baseball. Not just the Mets but all the teams in the league. He will be missed by all Mets and baseball fans.

He was loved an my first days I rember is in 1962 sitting on my Dads lap watching the METS an listing to Ralph tell us all about the game its something ill always rember R.I.P. Ralph

I have been a Mets fan since the beginning– 1962, the year I turned 12. I literally grew up with Ralph, Lindsey, and Bob. They were the voices of my youth and my teenage years, as much as those of the Beatles and Dylan. Watching Ralph Kiner on Channel 9 — in the good times and the bad — was a rite of spring and summer (not too often of the fall, though); and his loss has hit me harder than I would have expected. For all the years of Mets baseball, from my youth through the growth of my family, and my entire career (I retired as a teacher in June), he was always there — a source of comfort and stability. I wish I could thank him for all of those years of Mets baseball, and for being so much a part of my life. RIP Ralph.

Ralph Kiner always told the most interesting stories.
He will be missed

A great Ralph Kiner, dry humor story. The Mets were playing the Phillies in a late season game. In a way only he could he said, “Ozzie Virgil, Phillies Catcher was shot in the off season, and has gone on to have the best year of his career. I can see the Mets catchers lining up for their gun shots now”

Neever had the pleasure watching him although mom and dad told me a lot and being a bucco fan from an early age am well aware of his feats,and I always enjoyed his Kiner’s Korner on WOR Mets broadcasts on cable. He is and will be missed,he stands beside Roberto , Stargell and the other greats to wear the Pirates uniform.

RIP Ralph Kiner I will always remember him in the broadcast booth and all his amazing knowledge of baseball and it’s great past and present. He was the last of the greatest Mets reporters ever he will be watching from heaven now along with Bob Murphy true Mets!!!! God Rest Ralph’s solo he is gone but true Mets fans will always remember him and his Wonderful Personality!!!! My Sympathy Goes out to his family and all the Mets and fans!!!!

I loved listening to Ralph even in these later years. His stories were priceless and timeless. As a Met fan for these last 45 years, Ralph and the Mets were synonymous as far as I was concerned. I loved listening to Ralph tell the story about one of his pitchers (Johnny Gee) while in Pittsburgh. Gee had a enormous foot – size 16 I think. Ralph would tell the story of how Gee was fielding a bunt down the third base line and stepped on his third baseman’s foot, putting him out of the line-up for a month. The connection for me was that later in life Johnny Gee would become my high school principal. The students at our school fondly called Mr. Gee “Footer”. Through that story I always felt a special connection to Ralph even though I never had the privilege of meeting him. It is truly a sad day for Mets and baseball fans everywhere.

Growing up a Mets fan Ralph, Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy were the backbone of the Mets broadcast team. Ralph Kiner brought deep insight and experience to the broadcast booth and I loved listening to his stories. I always watched Kiner’s Korner after the game and loved his mild mannered approach to interviewing the greatest stars in the game. He will be missed. RIP Mr. Kiner.

My condolence to Mr. Kiner’s family. He was one of the first broadcasters I listened to regularly and when teamed with Tim McCarver, it just didn’t get any better. Ralph Kiner was certainly a gentleman and gentle soul, there was no mistaking that. He was the reason to listen to Mets games in the late 70s and early 80s when there was no other reason to watch them. I know his family will take solace in his legacy, as he was certainly one of the greats both on and off the field. I would just like to say – thank you Ralph Kiner, for being what a truly great sports figure should be!

the last voice of my childhood,will be missed but the memories remain. RIP Mr Kiner and thank you

I was born in 1975, the year Ralph Kiner was inducted into the HOF. Growing up as a Mets fan, I always looked forward to seeing who his guest would be on Kiner’s Korner. He seemed to treat the interviews as though they were just everyday conversations over a cup of coffee. His stories are what I’ll miss the most. This upcoming 2014 season will definitely be a tough one to get through, as there will no longer be an appearance by Ralph. May you RIP Mr Kiner.

Mr. Kiner will be sorely missed not only by his family but his Met family as well I will forever fondly remember him announcing the games With Tim and always looked forward to watching Kiners Korner after each home game Mr. Kiner Rest in Peace and may God Bless you today we lost not only a legend in the baseball world but an all around amazing man !!!

My first Met memories are on my grandfather’s porch with his old transistor radio always with a ball game on. Running home from school in 69 to see the World Series because it was actually on in the afternoon. Being at Shea stadium for Ralph Kiner night in ’07. And the common demoniator was always Ralph. Ever articulate, humorous, honest and mindful to make it feel as though you were always right there in person watching that game. I cannot imagine NY baseball without him. I truly feel as though I have lost a family member. It was a privilege to be a part of his life with the Mets. He will be remembered with great fondness and thanks.

My earliest recollection of Ralph Kiner was in the early 70’s when he shared the broadcast booth with fellow hall of famers, Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy. As the decade progressed, the Mets regressed but the trio always made the game entertaining and relevent; which was not easy to do from 1977-1983. I always loved “Kiner’s Corner” as I got to see Ralph interview my favorite players. And it was usually the last but of sports programming we’d get to see on Sundays back then. A HOF player as well, Ralph was one if the great sluggers in an era which produced some of the best ever. Ralph will be sorely missed by this Mets fan but I can imagine him settling into his seat in Heaven’s broadcast booth right along side of Lindsey and Bob to call games for God! RIP, Ralph!

I am 30, my father is almost 60, and my grandfather is almost 85. Three very different generations of Mets fans – and all three of us would sit and listen with rapt attention whenever Ralph was on the TV. No matter what age you are, you just knew every time you saw Ralph that you were going to hear something interesting or funny. How many others in the world have that kind of influence on three generations of people?

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