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.”

Lenny Dykstra arrested for allegedly threatening Uber driver

AP Photo/Nick Ut
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Former Mets and Phillies star outfielder Lenny Dykstra has been arrested for allegedly threatening an Uber driver early Wednesday morning, Mike Deak and Suzanne Russell of the Courier News report. The official charges include third-degree making terroristic threats and various drug offenses.

The driver alleges that Dykstra demanded he change the scheduled destination and threatened to kill him when the driver refused. Police didn’t recover a gun but they found cocaine, MDMA, and marijuana among Dykstra’s belongings.

Dykstra was released on a summons pending a court appearance.

Dykstra, 55, has found himself in trouble with the law quite a bit. He was accused last year of stealing from and trashing a hotel room in the Hamptons. He spent time in jail earlier this decade after being charged with grand theft auto and filing a false financial report. He also sentenced to jail time after exposing himself to women he met through Craigslist.