Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 5:38:34 AM

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Passing of a Legend; Ralph Kiner dies at 91

Ralph Kiner was as pure a slugger as baseball has ever seen and today, he passed away at the age of 91 due to congestive heart failure.  Before injuries cut his career short, Kiner hit .279 with 369 Home Runs and 1,105 RBI in just 10 seasons.  While it was not a very long career, it was productive.  Kiner led the National League in home runs in seven consecutive seasons and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.

Kiner is probably more known for his knowledgeable but sometimes lovingly flawed years as a broadcaster with the New York Mets.  Kiner began his tenure with the Mets in the clubs first season in 1962.  He joined legendary broadcasters Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy in one of the most heralded broadcast teams in baseball history.  Kiner revolutionized the post-game show with his "Kiner's Korner" on WOR-TV.  The Emmy Award winner broadcasted Mets games for 53 years, albeit in limited fashion over the last several years.

While he had a recognizable home run call "... going, going. It is gone, good-bye!" he was known for making mistakes on players' names, and even his own.  He commonly called Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, "Gary Cooper" and even introduced himself as "Ralph Korner."

In a statement released earlier Thursday Mets Chariman and CEO, Fred Wilpon said:  "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. 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 12 grandchildren. Our sport and society today lost one of the all-time greats."

Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown added: As one of baseball's most prolific power hitters for a decade, Ralph struck fear into the hearts of the best pitchers of Baseball's Golden Era despite his easy-going nature, disarming humility and movie-star smile.  His engaging personality and profound knowledge of the game turned him into a living room companion for millions of New York Mets fans who adored his game broadcasts and later 'Kiner's Korner' for more than half a century. He was as comfortable hanging out in Palm Springs with his friend Bob Hope as he was hitting in front of Hank Greenberg at Forbes Field.

Ralph Kiner, 1922-2014

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