Ralph Kiner: 1922-2014

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Sad news to pass along this afternoon, as Hall of Fame outfielder and broadcasting legend Ralph Kiner has passed away. He was 91 years old.

A feared slugger, Kiner had a storied and brief playing career, compiling a .279/.398/.548 batting line and 369 home runs over 10 seasons between the Pirates, Cubs, and Indians. A six-time All-Star, he either led or tied for the National League lead in home runs for each of his first seven seasons (1946-1952) in the majors. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975.

Back injuries forced Kiner into early retirement at 32 years old, but he soon created a whole new legion of fans as a broadcaster. While he began his broadcasting career in 1961 with the White Sox, he’s best known as one of the voices of the Mets. He was there at the inception of the franchise in 1962 along with Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy and became an institution, beloved for his wit, storytelling ability, and occasional flubs. His “Kiner’s Korner” post-game show on WOR-TV was iconic and the site of many classic moments.

Kiner was a big part of my fan experience as a child and it was still a treat to see him stop by the SNY booth in recent years. While he was getting older, he was just as sharp as ever. He’ll be dearly missed.

Here’s a statement from Mets chairman and CEO Fred Wilpon:

“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.”

Carlos Gomez gets ejected, rips umpire in Twitter rant

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Carlos Gomez entered the Rays-Blue Jays game as a pinch hitter last night, struck out looking and was ejected because he argued the call. But though his time in the game was quickly over, his evening was just beginning.

Gomez didn’t even wait for the game to end before taking to Twitter to rip home plate umpire Andy Fletcher First thing he did was post video of himself being called out on strikes, saying “the only job they have is to call balls and strikes. Do you guys think that pitch is a strike?

He went on:

And more, saying that if he kept showing these he’d find ten more pitches like this called strikes that, he believes, were balls:

He also believes that strikes thrown by Rays pitchers were balls:

There were other tweets that he subsequently deleted, but when he got back to his hotel room, he posted a six-minute-long video apologizing for some of those posts, saying “I made a mistake” — it’s not clear what it was he had deleted or what he was mistaken about — but then he went on to say that Fletcher was “brutal” and that he was not doing his job, claiming that if you watched more video of the game you’d see that Fletcher missed more than 30 pitches.

You get ejected for arguing balls and strikes in this league. You get fined for saying bad things about umpires after a game. My guess is that saying LOTS of bad things about umpires after a game, along with video evidence publicly criticizing them, you’re gonna get a BIG, BIG fine and, possibly, a suspension.

Hope that all made you feel better, though, Carlos!