Longtime New York Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner died on Thursday. He was 91.
In announcing his death, the National Baseball Hall of Fame said that he died of natural causes at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
"Ralph Kiner was one of the most beloved people in Mets history — An original Met and extraordinary gentleman. After a Hall of Fame playing career, Ralph became a treasured broadcasting icon for more than half a century," said Fred Wilpon, chairman & CEO of the Mets. "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 twelve grandchildren. Our sport and society today lost one of the all-time greats."
Kiner had been a broadcaster for the Mets since the team's inception in 1962. Before that, he played in the Majors from 1946-55 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians. Aside from calling Mets games, Kiner was best known for hosting Kiner’s Korner, where he interviewed players and coaches following Mets' home games.
"Ralph Kiner was a giant in every sense of the word," said SNY, the Mets' regional sports network home for which he did some work in his latter years. "His impact on Mets fans over 52 years in the booth is immeasurable. We will not only miss his insights and knowledge of the game, but more importantly, his engaging personality and huge heart. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Kiner family."
Kiner was profiled by B&C in 2011, which celebrated the broadcaster's 50th year in the profession.
"For 52 years, Ralph was a one-of-a-kind voice of the Mets, linking baseball's unparalleled history to New York's new National League franchise since its very inception," said MLB commissioner Bud Selig in a statement. "I am grateful that I recently had the opportunity to visit with Ralph, whose lifetime of service to baseball will always be treasured by the fans of Pittsburgh, New York and beyond."