Baseball Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, who worked 52 years in the broadcast booth for the New York Mets, has died, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced Thursday afternoon.
Kiner, who lived in Greenwich for decades, died at his home in Rancho Mirage, CA. He was 91.
Kiner broke into the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1946, hit 369 home runs during his 10-year career, mostly with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who retired his No. 4 in 1987, according to ESPN.com. He also played for Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs.
Born Oct. 27, 1922 in Santa Rita, NM, Kiner played for the Pirates from 1946 to 1953, the Cubs in 1953-54 and the Indians in 1955. Kiner averaged a home run every 14.1 at-bats, the sixth-best ratio of all-time and second among right-handed batters, according to the obituary announcement posted on the hall's website
“With the passing of Ralph Kiner, the baseball world has lost one of its greatest ambassadors and the Hall of Fame has lost a wonderful friend,” Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, said in a statement. “Ralph spent eight decades as a player, executive and broadcaster. He was a man who truly loved our National Pastime and made it better in every way. His legacy will live forever in Cooperstown.”
"Ralph Kiner was one of the most beloved people in Mets history — an original Met and extraordinary gentleman," New York Mets CEO 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. 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," Wilpon also said.
Despite having suffered a stroke about 10 years ago, Kiner occasionally joined the Mets' announcing crew. Last season, he worked a handful of games, his 52nd year of calling their games.
"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 easygoing nature, disarming humility and movie-star smile," Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said in a statement.
Kiner was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1975. Kiner’s Hall of Fame Induction speech, a video tribute and his Hall of Fame plaque appear online at www.baseballhall.org/hof/kiner-ralph.