In this Aug. 14, 1982 photo, Willie Mays tries to get Ralph Kiner’s hat as the two Hall of Famers pose for pictures before the start of Old Timers Day game at Shea Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Harry Harris)
“As one of baseball’s most prolific power hitters for a decade, Ralph struck fear into the hearts of the best pitchers of baseball’s Golden Era despite his easygoing nature, disarming humility and movie-star smile,” Hall President Jeff Idelson said in a statement.
“His engaging personality and profound knowledge of the game turned him into a living room companion for millions of New York Mets fans who adored his game broadcasts and later ‘Kiner’s Korner’ for more than half a century,” he said. “He was as comfortable hanging out in Palm Springs with his friend Bob Hope as he was hitting in front of Hank Greenberg at Forbes Field.”
Charles Curtis of NJ.com, has gathered many of Ralph’s best Kinerisms including these unforgettable gems:
“If Branch Rickey were alive today, he’d be spinning in his grave.” — Talking about the Dodgers and state of baseball in 1999
“Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water, the other third by Garry Maddox.”
“All of his saves have come in relief appearances.”
“Now up to bat for the Mets is Gary Cooper.”
“We’ll be back after this word from Manufacturers Hangover.”
Reading some of those can still make me laugh out loud even after all these years.
I love what Ron Darling had to say about Ralph today, calling him a true renaissance man if there ever was one. With apologies to Matt Harvey, Ralph had no shortage of super models and Hollywood starlets hanging around his big arms. Janet Leigh, Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor were just a few of those that Ralph dated before marrying tennis star Mary Chaffee.
We’ll have more on Ralph Kiner over the next few days as we celebrate the life of the beloved Met broadcaster and Hall of Fame slugger.