Ralph Kiner went into the Hall of Fame in 1975. Credit: Getty Images
Mets broadcaster and Baseball Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner passed away at age 91 of natural causes Thursday. He was at his home in California.
Kiner played most notably for the Pirates, but also spent two and a half seasons with the Cubs and one in Cleveland.
In New York, however, he is most known for the time he spent as a broadcaster with the Mets. He never played for the club, but nonetheless developed a deep connection with the fanbase. Kiner, along with Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy, were the first announcers in the history of the expansion club in 1962. He served as a broadcaster with the Mets up until last season, though he appeared only occasionally, mostly on weekend day games. He was the second-longest tenured broadcaster in the league at 53 years — behind only current Dodgers play-by-play man Vin Scully.
"Ralph Kiner was one of the most beloved people in Mets history — an original Met and extraordinary gentleman," Mets owner Fred Wilpon said in a statement. "After a Hall of Fame playing career, 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 the league's pre-eminent slugger in the 1940s and 1950s, leading the league in homers in each of his first seven seasons in the league.
He never won the MVP, but finished in the Top 10 in each season from 1947 to 1951. He was also a six-time All Star.
Kiner was selected to the Hall of Fame in 1975 — his 13th time on the ballot. He had his No. 4 retired by the Pirates and is a member of the Mets Hall of Fame.
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