Tonight is Ralph Kiner night at Shea Stadium, and no one is more deserving of a night of recognition.
Ralph Kiner has been one of the voices of the Mets since their inception in 1962. I remember as a kid having Kiner & Tim McCarver (who I can't stand) call pretty much every regular season game for the Mets. At the time I used to make fun of Kiner because from time to time I thought he was to old to be broadcasting. I remember one time he uttered his famous "Going, going, gone goodbye" for a home run, when the left fielder actually caught the ball on the warning track.
But as I got older and learned more about baseball I realized what an incredible talent Ralph Kiner was as a player. He had the unfortunate luck of being on an awful Pittsburgh Pirates team throughout his career, but his accomplishments rank him as one of the top ten baseball players of all time in my book.
As Kiner began to call fewer games I found myself enjoying his commentary more and more. The stories he has to tell and his dry sense of humor are a lost art in the days of Fox Saturday Baseball telecasters.
The stories of Kiner's corner after every Mets game are classics to be heard when Kiner recounts them to Gary Cohen & Keith Hernandez in the booth. I know that very few of today's younger baseball fans will learn about Ralph Kiner, and it bothers me to think that this man's legacy will be lost amongst steroid scandals, asterick-marked records, and pure greed.
Ralph Kiner is a class act and one of the most gifted players to ever take the field. He's been there for many of my Mets memories and I hope you'll enjoy his guest appearances in the booth as much as I do.
Enjoy your night, Ralph. You deserve it, and it's long overdue.