When I was a kid, I never missed a Met game.  My pop took me to Shea Stadium for the first time in 1968, and after that, we would always watch the games together.  Just about every Met game was on Channel 9 in the New York area, and the broadcast team was terrific:  Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson and Hall-of-Fame slugger Ralph Kiner.

Lindsey Nelson passed away in 1995, Bob Murphy in 2004, and yesterday, Ralph Kiner died of natural causes at the age of 91.  Kiner was working in the booth right up until last season.  "Ralph was -- and it's hard to think of him in the past tense -- royalty," sportscaster Howie Rose told The New York Times.  "And you don't throw the king overboard.  He's there until he was done."

Kiner was also a master of malapropisms and is famously remembered for these gems: "Darryl Strawberry has been voted to the Hall of Fame five years in a row," "Kevin McReynolds stops at third and he scores," and "Now up to bat for the Mets is Gary Cooper." 

His New York Times obituary also included this:

In one exchange from the early days of the Mets (though not on the show “Kiner’s Korner”), he asked a young Mets catcher, Choo Choo Coleman, “What’s your wife’s name, and what’s she like?” Coleman replied, “Her name is Mrs. Coleman — and she likes me, bub.” (Years later, Coleman denied this ever happened.)

My buddies, my family, and myself, will miss Ralph Kiner. 

Photo: Chris McGrath / Getty Images Sports