Longtime Mets announcer and Baseball Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner passed away Thursday at the age of 91. NY1's Budd Mishkin filed the following report.
Ralph Kiner was respected as a player throughout baseball and then beloved as a broadcaster in New York.
He actually started his professional career playing for the minor league Albany Senators in 1941 and 1942.
After serving in World War II, Kiner debuted with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1946 and became one of the most feared home run hitters in the game.
During a 10-year career shortened by injury, Kiner hit 369 home runs, leading the National League in that category in his first seven seasons.
However, he is best known in the city for his more than four decades as a Mets broadcaster, starting in the team's first season, 1962.
Along with Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy, Kiner became part of the sound of Shea Stadium and summer for Mets fans.
And long before 24-hour sports talk radio and ESPN and coverage and highlights on the Internet, there was Kiner's Korner. Nothing fancy - hardly - but a beloved postgame staple for Mets fans, with thousands of interviews of the Mets and their opponents.
Eventually, the number of games he broadcast was reduced, but certainly not his place in the hearts of Mets fans.
In a statement, Mets owner Fred Wilpon said, "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."
Kiner was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975, largely on the basis of all of those home runs. But there is no statistic to describe how much Kiner meant to the Mets and their fans, to baseball, and to everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him and experiencing his kindness.