"Hello everybody, welcome to Kiner's Korner, I'm Ralph Korner."
I'm too young to remember the early years of the Mets. I don't remember the days of the original 3 - Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy, and Ralph Kiner. I don't remember the early days of Kiner's Korner. I'm certainly too young to remember Ralph Kiner as a Home Run king. I only know Ralph Kiner as a TV announcer for the Mets on WWOR with only the Sunday edition of his Kiner's Korner post-game show starting for me in the late 1980s.
But with the rotation (both during the game and from season to season) of announcers on Mets TV over my first decade as a fan, there was Ralph, a constant, and usually along side eventual Hall of Fame Broadcaster Tim McCarver. Even at a young age, and before I could really appreciate the history, I understood that Ralph Kiner was an original. In a way for me, those are the glory days of Mets broadcasts. A Sunday afternoon watching Channel 9 with Ralph Kiner and Tim McCarver and Kiner's Korner after the game. The team wasn't good for most of that time, but I didn't necessarily care. The broadcasts were entertaining. And that was led by Ralph Kiner.
Kiner's Korner faded away some time in the mid-90s (IMDB.com says 1995). The "glory days" as I knew them faded away too, but Ralph kept going. As I got older and I began to appreciate Mets history, I began to appreciate how original broadcasters Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy were still there calling games, having been there since that far away time of 1962. A new era (to be fair, probably a 4th new era in Mets history) dawned with Ralph no longer doing play-by-play (he had a bout with Bell's Palsy which affected his speech). But he never left the ball club. How could he? He was Ralph Kiner.
In his later years (the modern era), he only made a few appearances each season. He would come in only for a few innings at a time (something I never understood why it was so short), and it was usually pure gold.
In a few week, we'll reach the start of a new baseball season. Sad to think it will be the first Mets season which won't have Ralph Kiner in the booth.
"Going, going. Gone goodbye"
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