Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ralph Kiner, Slugger Who Became a Voice of the Mets, Dies at 91 -

Ralph Kiner, who as an announcer spent half a century with the Mets, interviewing Willie Mays.
Ralph Kiner with Willie Mays as a Met
Ralph Kiner was one of the three people who taught me the most about baseball: my Grandmother Mae Curtis Trautfield - my mother's mother - a Brooklyn Dodger fan who taught me the rules and the love of the game from her wheelchair in front of a postage stamp black and white TV.  The cameras couldn't follow a fly ball - but we could see Willie Mays making his famous basket catches, and Pee Wee Reese shuffling the ball to Junior Gilliam for the 5-4-3 double plays that ended with Gil Hodges at first base.

The next was Ralph Kiner, who was the gravelly voice of the Mets for fifty years after he retired from a brilliant career in Pittsburgh.  He knew the players, the managers, and the strategies they pursued.  The third was Tim McCarver who joined McCarver in the booth and taught another generation how the game works. - GWC

Ralph Kiner, Slugger Who Became a Voice of the Mets, Dies at 91 -

by Bruce Weber

"Ralph Kiner, baseball’s vastly undersung slugger, who belted more home runs than anyone else over his 10-year career but whose achievements in the batter’s box were obscured by his decades in the broadcast booth, where he was one of the game’s most recognizable personalities, died on Thursday at home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 91....
369 career home runs, 1,015 RBIs - 1946-1955
During his first seven seasons, all with Pittsburgh, Kiner led the National League in home runs every year, still a record streak for either league. (Twice he tied with Johnny Mize, once with Hank Sauer.)From 1947 to 1951, he had home run totals of 51, 40, 54, 47 and 42, becoming only the second player in history — Babe Ruth was the first — to hit at least 40 home runs in five consecutive seasons, and the third (after Ruth and Jimmie Foxx) to hit 100 over two consecutive seasons.From 1932, when Hack Wilson hit 56 homers for the Chicago Cubs, to baseball’s steroid era in the 1990s, Kiner’s 54 homers in 1949 was the highest single-season total for a National Leaguer; Henry Aaron never matched him, nor did Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Mike Schmidt or Willie McCovey, all Hall of Famers with more than 500 career homers.Kiner never made it to the World Series; the Pirates of his era were perpetually mediocre (or worse), and so were the Cubs. In 1955, traded to the American League for his last season, he got closest: the Indians finished second to the Yankees."

'via Blog this'

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