A voice of the New York Mets had special way of talking about baseball

sruinsky@newsobserver.comFebruary 7, 2014 

Name the former baseball player who said:

“Solo homers usually come with no one on base.”

“There's a lot of heredity in that family.”

“On Father’s Day, we again wish you all happy birthday.”

“The Hall of Fame ceremonies are on the 31st and 32nd of July.”

a) Yogi Berra

b) Joe Garagiola

c) Casey Stengel.

The answer is d) Ralph Kiner.

Kiner hit 369 home runs, most with the Pittsburgh Pirates, during a career that started in 1946.

As a youngster growing up in New York, I didn’t think of Kiner as a Baseball Hall of Famer. Along with Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy, Kiner called Mets games on television and radio.

He was there at the beginning, when the Mets of Casey Stengel lost 120 games in 1962. Kiner would later say of the first Mets’ first manager during a mess of a game, “If Casey Stengel were alive today, he'd be spinning in his grave.” He was there when the Mets won the World Series in 1969 and 1986.

Kiner was there, not just to rewire the English language, but to explain the game with insight, whether the team was great, horrible, or worst of all, just bad.

Kiner could forget his own name during the “Kiner’s Korner” postgame show: “Hello, everybody. Welcome to ‘Kiner's Corner.’ This is....uh. I'm...uh.” He could explain why star pitcher Tom Seaver was so tough to hit. When the Mets occasionally won, he’d present the “happy recap.”

Generations of fans have the voices of Vin Scully or Jack Buck or Russ Hodges in their heads when they think about their teams.

I’ll always have the happy recap.

Kiner passed away Thursday at age 91.

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