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  • Mongoose
    replied
    We're all looking forward to the posting of the original Kiner's Korner theme.

    On another note an article about Kiner's legendary flubs was inevitable. A respectable little period has to pass, though:


    Remembering Ralph Kiner
    February, 7, 2014
    Feb 7
    1:06
    PM ET

    I never got to see the late, great Ralph Kiner swing a bat. But I was lucky enough to spend many summer evenings listening to him speak into a microphone.

    And it was hard to think of a better way to pass a few hours than that, on many levels.

    Ralph Kiner was a beautiful man. Try to find anyone who ever met him who didn't love him, or love being around him. Anyone.

    He had a story for every occasion. He saw the game on levels a lot of people didn't. And he had one of life's special gifts -- the ability to laugh at himself.

    I'm especially grateful for that last gift because, as anyone who read my old Week in Review column in the Philadelphia Inquirer could tell you, I somehow became America's foremost collector of Ralph Kiner malapropism classics.

    It became, after awhile, a weekly feature of that column, because, let's just say, there was never a shortage of those pearls to choose from.

    Collecting them was a labor of love, and it didn't require much labor. I heard many of them myself. And Kiner fans sent them to me by the hundreds.

    They were true treasures of American broadcasting. And the reason I felt free to relay them to the world was simple:

    Ralph didn't mind.

    Not one bit.

    His good friend and old Mets broadcast partner Tim McCarver used to assure me of that on a regular basis. At one point, I got a phone call, out of the blue, from Danny Peary, an author who was writing a book with Ralph Kiner.

    Peary's question (of course): What were my favorite Kinerisms?

    After I relayed a few, I couldn't help but ask: "If you're writing a book with Ralph, why'd you call me?"

    "Ralph told me to call you," he said, "because you have the best collection of these of anyone."

    So before I start reminiscing about some of the greatest Ralph Kiner gems of all time, I needed to make that clear.

    Ralph Kiner understood those Kinerisms were part of his legend. And he was totally cool with that.

    It was part of his unique charm. As my friend Chris Isidore observed in an email Thursday, after learning that Kiner had died at age 91, "It'd be nice if every announcer could be Vin Scully, spinning prose poetry in describing both the great and the mundane moments on the field. But failing that, we're best off with the Ralph Kiners and Phil Rizzutos of the world, former athletes with a knowledge of the game along with a trove of amusing anecdotes and a propensity for malaprops that made the hours of dead time during the game funny and enjoyable."

    Exactly. There were many reasons to watch a Mets game with Ralph Kiner in the booth. But even Ralph himself knew what one of them was: There was a chance you were going to hear the English language used in ways never heard before.

    So on that note, presented with total love and affection for a great man, here they come, some of my favorite Ralph Kinerisms:
    The Name Game

    Not only could Ralph mispronounce the names of players everywhere, he even got his own name wrong. Ask any earwitness who heard him call himself "Ralph Korner" or "Ron Kiner." But there were many more where they came from.

    Dan Driessen came out "Diane Driessen." Gary Carter came out "Gary Cooper." Vince Coleman was "Gary Coleman." Dave Kingman was "Ed Kranepool." Milt May was "Mel Ott." And Ralph once called Dann Bilardello "Dann Bordello." Needless to say, I'm not touching that line.

    One of my favorite Kiner/McCarver moments ever came after Ralph even referred to his pal McCarver as "Tim MacArthur" during a game. Whereupon, as they were heading for a commercial, McCarver deadpanned: "And like MacArthur, we shall return." Awesome.
    Fun facts

    Ralph the historian once said of Cincinnati's old Riverfront Stadium: "Baseball began right here in this very stadium, back in 1869."

    Ralph the geographer once reported that veteran pitcher Keith Comstock was so well-traveled, "he's even been released by four different countries."

    Ralph the calendar chronicler once told us that "Darryl Strawberry was voted player of the month for June 4 to June 10" and that David Cone could be "the pitcher of the year for the month of July."

    And Ralph the college football fan once said that the Mets' hot-hitting Dave Magadan "does not have enough at-bats to qualify for the Big 10." Which was Northwestern's problem for years, right?

    Ralph the sabermetrician revealed that all of switch-hitting Howard Johnson's early-season homers had "come left-handed as a left-handed batter," and that "all of Rick Aguilera's saves have come in relief appearances."

    And, as thousands of you seemed to recall in the last 24 hours, Ralph the human greeting card marked his favorite holiday by telling all the dads out there: "And on this Father's Day, we again wish you all a happy birthday." Heck, why wouldn't we?
    Simple physics

    A bunch of people heard Ralph the weatherman try to explain one night why it's so hard to hit in cold weather. His premise was that cold could affect the distance a ball traveled by 25 feet:

    "On a cold night," he said, "you have to hit the ball 25 feet farther. So, in other words, if the fence is 338 feet [away] and you hit the ball 338 feet, you'll be 25 feet short."

    Which was, undoubtedly, news to the fence.
    Great moments in music

    I could go on like this for hours. But let's finish this tribute with one of Ralph's all-time all-timers, which was heard and relayed to me by more people than any Kinerism in history. And was recalled by many of you since you heard the news of Kiner's passing.

    It emerged from the late innings of a 1993 spring training game between the Mets and Yankees. Ralph apparently left the booth between innings, only to discover upon his return that the Yankees had made some defensive changes. Only one trouble with that: He was on the air live and hadn't quite had a chance to note them all.

    But he plowed in there anyway.

    "I see the Yankees have made some changes in the outfield," he said. "They've put Bernie Williams in left field. And now playing center field is ... "

    Hmmm. Good question. Who was playing center? Fortunately, he thought, the scoreboard had the answer.

    Unfortunately, what he discovered up there wasn't the defensive changes. It was the results of fan balloting to decide which song would get played on the PA system before the next inning.

    And the winner was ... Uh-oh.

    "And in center field," Ralph said, finally, "that's John Fogerty."

    Now none of us were in that booth, or the production truck, when that bulletin reverberated over the air waves. But there's a really, really good chance the next sound Ralph Kiner heard was: "Nooooo. That's Gerald Williams in center."

    Message delivered. Message received. Well, sort of.

    "Sorry," Ralph said. "Correction. That's Gerald Williams in center field -- and John Fogerty in right."

    True story. No truth to the rumor that the song they wound up playing the next inning was "Help." But it would have been a great idea, because all of us who remember that gem could use some help -- to help us quit laughing nonstop. For the last 20 years.

    That was Ralph Kiner. Still making us smile, even after he's gone. And we'll never forget him for it.



    The best one was when he forgot his name during the intro to Kiner's Korner. He didn't just call himself "Ralph Korner" (which I'd seen). He said "Good evening, welcome to Kiner's Korner. I'm..." and then stood there with a deer in the headlights look saying "uh... uh" trying to remember his name for a few seconds. I think they went to a commercial. It's been so long and, of course, I only saw it once.

    Don't know about the rest of you but during Kiner's Korner I'd be sitting relaxed after a Mets game and such things weren't a complete surprise as they were happening. Ralph didn't seem to be astonished either. Sometimes he seemed a little uneasy as things got tangled and mangled, but the show continued to flow. It had to. It was live. For us the incredible lapses were part of the show.

    In some ways it was like an educational show on baseball with a bit of Soupy Sales or Uncle Floyd thrown in. Did he ever win some kind of Emmy? He should have. Kiner's Korner towers over the studio productions of ESPN and all the rest. I think whoever runs TV must have passed a law against unassuming Lo-Fi fun. Just try to find any.

    Leave a comment:


  • alpineinc
    replied
    Originally posted by Mongoose View Post
    They used different music in the 1980s, which was less distinctive but which I remember a bit more vividly. It was a kind of 80s muzak version of the sort of incidental music used in old NFL films. Not sure when they made the transition.
    Yeah, that music is in the intro on the Kiner's Korner Seaver clip, and I have to say that it left little impression on me - I would never recognize it apart from the video. But for me, who grew up with the 1970's Mets, the polka theme unleashes a flood of memories for sure.

    Leave a comment:


  • theAmazingMet
    replied
    Hes gonna be missed for sure. I loved those few games when he would show up in the booth.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mongoose
    replied
    Originally posted by alpineinc View Post
    Ha ha, make sure to play it very loudly. It'll be like a dog whistle - only older Mets fans will understand the sounds, lol.
    They used different music in the 1980s, which was less distinctive but which I remember a bit more vividly. It was a kind of 80s muzak version of the sort of incidental music used in old NFL films. Not sure when they made the transition.

    Here's a full version of the Flag of Victory March on player piano:

    Leave a comment:


  • alpineinc
    replied
    Originally posted by StillShea View Post
    I ordered the CD this morning. My family is going to think I'm nuts when I open the package.
    Ha ha, make sure to play it very loudly. It'll be like a dog whistle - only older Mets fans will understand the sounds, lol.

    Leave a comment:


  • StillShea
    replied
    Originally posted by alpineinc View Post
    After remembering some talk about it as a(n obvious) polka version of an older tune, Flag Of Victory Polka led me down the right internet rabbit hole to find the long lost gem - when I heard it I couldn't believe it was the exact song, lol. Hopefully soon I'll get the full version and I will post it and link to it here as well.
    There's quite a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment when you realize your persistence has finally paid off. You search on and off for months, maybe years even, never really sure of what it is you're looking for or if you'll ever find it. And then one day BAM! you finally find it. There it is! It's literally a Eureka! moment. It's not something that happens every day so I always enjoy those rare moments when they come along.

    Thank you, again. I don't even know you but as a fellow Mets fan I'm proud of you for finding this! I can only imagine the number of leads that turned into dead ends, and bad music clips you had to endure before finding the prize. Well done.

    I ordered the CD this morning. My family is going to think I'm nuts when I open the package.

    Leave a comment:


  • PVNICK
    replied
    I agree as well. If anything it is more wistfulness for yourself as it is another sign that you too are getting to a certain age if you remember him broadcasting from your earliest childhood.

    Leave a comment:


  • StillShea
    replied
    Originally posted by Mongoose View Post
    I wonder if anyone else shares this sentiment?
    I do, more or less. He had a good run and while the passing of anyone we know is always a sad occasion, it's not the same kind of dark, awful sadness that we experience when someone dies a tragic death unexpectedly or needlessly. Ralph led a good life and people who knew him had their lives made richer because of the kind of man he was. Maybe his ex-wives would disagree a little So while I am saddened by his passing, there is also joy in remembering all the good things about him.

    "Once again the final score is the Mets 3 and the Mets 1"
    - Ralph Kiner

    Leave a comment:


  • Paulypal
    replied
    Originally posted by Mongoose View Post
    I'm having trouble thinking of Ralph Kiner and being sad simultaneously.

    Every association I have makes me think cheerful thoughts. Extreme wealth couldn't buy a life like that. Nothing's perfect, but to be a Hall of Fame ballplayer and exceed that stature in your next career while doing it in an environment so many would love to be in for just a little while... It makes one feel good to know a life such as Ralph's was even possible. The fact that he seemed essentially like a regular guy encourages one that all kinds of good things can happen in this life. What made Ralph an exceptional regular guy was an apparent ease at achieving harmony with the world around him. This gave him resiliency he must have needed when his first career ended abruptly. He turned a devastating blow into a second act of life that, incredibly, exceeded his first.

    He left us a lot of wealth. He was an element in some of our favorite memories. He helped make those memories what they are. We have a lot to thank him for.

    If all the eulogies are true it wasn't just fans who loved him. He was open, friendly and generous with his time and knowledge. He was beloved everyplace he was known. Listening to recordings of broadcasts he had the gift of turning the spotlight of conversations on whoever he was talking with and did it more effectively than most. He brought out a lot in whoever he spoke to and usually struck a humble note when his own accomplishments were brought up. I suspect this was who he was as a person. He was naturally configured to shine as a broadcaster. This skill also naturally configures one to succeed as a human.

    Ralph Kiner was inspirational. He could have lived longer. That would have been great. But just thinking about Ralph Kiner makes me feel good. His death will not change that.

    I wonder if anyone else shares this sentiment?
    Count me in.

    Growing up listening/watching Ralph Kiner was always a good thing. From Kiners Korner to his broadcasting were always entertaining. Even his constant calling Gary Carter...Gary Cooper was good for a laugh. It was ok because it was Kiner.

    He always came across as a regular guy and never thought of himself as anything more than that....despite rubbing shoulders with some pretty big names (and in some cases more than shoulders).

    I am glad that as I got older I learned to appreciate Ralph more, especially after he had some battles with health issues. You realize nothing is forever and you can appreciate it as its happening, instead of taking it for granted.

    Ralph will be missed.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mongoose
    replied
    I'm having trouble thinking of Ralph Kiner and being sad simultaneously.

    Every association I have makes me think cheerful thoughts. Extreme wealth couldn't buy a life like that. Nothing's perfect, but to be a Hall of Fame ballplayer and exceed that stature in your next career while doing it in an environment so many would love to be in for just a little while... It makes one feel good to know a life such as Ralph's was even possible. The fact that he seemed essentially like a regular guy encourages one that all kinds of good things can happen in this life. What made Ralph an exceptional regular guy was an apparent ease at achieving harmony with the world around him. This gave him resiliency he must have needed when his first career ended abruptly. He turned a devastating blow into a second act of life that, incredibly, exceeded his first.

    He left us a lot of wealth. He was an element in some of our favorite memories. He helped make those memories what they are. We have a lot to thank him for.

    If all the eulogies are true it wasn't just fans who loved him. He was open, friendly and generous with his time and knowledge. He was beloved everyplace he was known. Listening to recordings of broadcasts he had the gift of turning the spotlight of conversations on whoever he was talking with and did it more effectively than most. He brought out a lot in whoever he spoke to and usually struck a humble note when his own accomplishments were brought up. I suspect this was who he was as a person. He was naturally configured to shine as a broadcaster. This skill also naturally configures one to succeed as a human.

    Ralph Kiner was inspirational. He could have lived longer. That would have been great. But just thinking about Ralph Kiner makes me feel good. His death will not change that.

    I wonder if anyone else shares this sentiment?

    Leave a comment:


  • alpineinc
    replied
    Originally posted by StillShea View Post
    I haven't posted here in ages but you, good sir, have done many of us a great service by finding this! A couple of years ago there was some network, probably SNY, that showed a bunch of old Kiner's Korner moments. They were great to watch but for the theme music they had only the first 12 or so seconds of it and they looped it continuously over and over and over again. They tried to foist that abomination on us as the Kiner's Korner theme song. Blasphemy! I could hear the rest of it in my head and it was maddening to know that somewhere there had to be someone who knew what the deal was with the old theme song. I really hope it wasn't a matter of them knowing exactly what it was and not wanting to pay royalties. I much prefer the simple "incompetent research" explanation.

    I saw Ralph Kiner once in the Diamond Club at Shea. Sadly, I never got the chance to meet him or buy him a drink (and he was standing at the bar). Someday I hope to run into you, alpineinc, and when I do, that drink is yours! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful gift on such a sad day.

    RIP Ralph. The world would be a lot nicer place with more people like you (and alpineinc) in it. Please ask the big guy to use whatever divine influence he deems necessary to ensure Howie Rose remains as the voice of the Mets on radio.
    Thank you, good sir, for the kind words. I had been searching for the exact song on and off for years and really decided to do some real digging yesterday to finally find it. I knew it was Flag of Victory, but most versions are the Flag Of Victory March. After remembering some talk about it as a(n obvious) polka version of an older tune, Flag Of Victory Polka led me down the right internet rabbit hole to find the long lost gem - when I heard it I couldn't believe it was the exact song, lol. Hopefully soon I'll get the full version and I will post it and link to it here as well.

    I had Ralph sign a copy of one of his books for me in the Mets store at Shea a few years back, but also had the pleasure of once sharing an elevator ride up to the Diamond Club area at Shea with only Mr. Kiner, myself and my elderly mother, who was/is the same age as Ralph. Just some short chit-chat about what a nice day it was for a ballgame, but a thrill nonetheless. A great loss to the Mets family and to baseball overall.

    Leave a comment:


  • mandrake
    replied
    Originally posted by Mongoose View Post
    Just one?

    I would have bought Ralph two!
    My dad was with a few of his FDNY buddies having a couple and Ralph was by himself at the bar. They just shook hands with him and bought him a drink....Ralph looked liek he wanted to be alone. He wasn't surly, he just looked like he was deep in thought.

    Another time they ran into Murphy in the Diamond Club. He was getting a few Rheingolds to go (at the time they were the sponsor) . My dad was surprised how short Murph was. Anyway, Murph told he would only drink the brand that sponsored the Mets and was glad it was Rheingold because he loved it. (Don't know what happened when they moved and Schaeffer took over)

    Someday I will relay a long story from a family friend that used to wofk as a go=fer for Ralph and Murph...but it is more Murph than Ralph so I'll hold off.

    Leave a comment:


  • StillShea
    replied
    Originally posted by alpineinc View Post
    Also posted this in the Shea thread...

    After years of searching...I finally FOUND IT - the source recording of the original Kiner's Korner theme!!

    It's the "Flag Of Victory Polka" from "Big Band Polkas On Parade", by Ira Ironstrings and his Polka Marching Band, released in 1962 (I'm sure the whole album is a real toe-tapper, lol).
    I haven't posted here in ages but you, good sir, have done many of us a great service by finding this! A couple of years ago there was some network, probably SNY, that showed a bunch of old Kiner's Korner moments. They were great to watch but for the theme music they had only the first 12 or so seconds of it and they looped it continuously over and over and over again. They tried to foist that abomination on us as the Kiner's Korner theme song. Blasphemy! I could hear the rest of it in my head and it was maddening to know that somewhere there had to be someone who knew what the deal was with the old theme song. I really hope it wasn't a matter of them knowing exactly what it was and not wanting to pay royalties. I much prefer the simple "incompetent research" explanation.

    I saw Ralph Kiner once in the Diamond Club at Shea. Sadly, I never got the chance to meet him or buy him a drink (and he was standing at the bar). Someday I hope to run into you, alpineinc, and when I do, that drink is yours! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful gift on such a sad day.

    RIP Ralph. The world would be a lot nicer place with more people like you (and alpineinc) in it. Please ask the big guy to use whatever divine influence he deems necessary to ensure Howie Rose remains as the voice of the Mets on radio.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mongoose
    replied
    A lot of articles are out, undoubtedly prepared in advance. Many pursue themes we've discussed in this thread. I liked this one:

    http://nypost.com/2014/02/06/kiner-w...d-storyteller/

    Kiner was so much more than a slugger and storyteller

    By Mike Vaccaro

    February 6, 2014 | 6:33pm

    This was late one San Francisco night, years ago, and Ralph Kiner was well into a fourth hour of telling stories, filling one more room with laughter and good cheer, a Hall of Famer forever sharing the rare gift of making everyone else at the table feel like the VIP.

    “Here’s when I realized the power of TV,” he said. “A few years ago I was chatting with a ballplayer, an All-Star, I won’t embarrass him by giving his name. He wanted to know how I broke into TV. I started to tell him, ‘Well, after I was done playing …’

    “And he stopped me. And he said, ‘Wait, you played?’”

    He waited for the laughter to die down, smiled, said, “Yeah. A little.”

    More laughter. And then the Kineresque kicker.

    “I mean, goodness, can you imagine? I’ve never been confused with Walter Cronkite.”

    That was Kiner: gregarious yet humble, the owner of a plaque in Cooperstown but also of a rare brand of modesty that forever defied his place in the game, as well as the popular culture of New York City for parts of six decades.

    He passed Thursday at age 91, and he takes the last vestige of a glorious age with him. For years upon years upon years it was Kiner, Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson broadcasting Mets games and it was Phil Rizzuto, Frank Messer and Bill White with the Yankees, and these six voices were the Greek chorus of so many summers, so familiar and so accessible that they would make Mets fans listen to Yankees games, would encourage Yankees fans to tune in to Channel 9.

    White, a few weeks past his 80th birthday, is the only one still with us, but it has been 25 years since he traded in a microphone for the presidency of the National League. Kiner was still on the air last summer, working a handful of day games on SNY, a splendid link to a spectacular baseball past in New York City.

    Still telling stories. Still lighting up every room he was in: restaurant, saloon, broadcast booth. Inspiring millions of baseball fans along the way. And more than a few broadcasters.

    Howie Rose was a kid working for WHN radio in the spring of 1983. He goes back to the upper deck at Shea Stadium, munching salami sandwiches and living and dying with the Mets, and he bumped into Kiner one night in St. Petersburg, spent his own delightful evening enjoying Kiner’s company, and all but floated back to his room afterward.

    “And it occurred to me,” Rose said Thursday, “that if someone had given me a gift certificate for my birthday that would have given me the 3 1/2 hours I’d just spent with Ralph, that would’ve been just about the best gift I’d ever gotten in my life.”

    Rose, of course, would become a voice of the Mets in time, would work with Kiner and marvel at just how good he was with people, how he had the talent to both empathize with them and understand them. In 1999, Rose emceed a reunion of the 1969 Mets. And Kiner could see in Rose’s face what that meant to the kid who used to graze in the cheap seats.

    “Howie,” he said later, “did you ever think you’d be the one to introduce this team you used to care so much about?”

    “It was amazing,” Rose said, “because that’s exactly what I was thinking. To the letter.”

    That came across, always, even as he led a life that could easily have been lived from the top of Olympus, safely removed from the masses. There were the 369 home runs, most of them hit for some dreadful Pirates teams, and the years he spent in World War II flying patrol bombers over the Pacific. He dated Elizabeth Taylor and Janet Leigh, and married tennis star Nancy Chaffee.

    And perhaps most remarkably, at a time and a place when New York City was the home office of Pop Culture — the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s — he was right there in the zeitgeist with “Kiner’s Korner,” a kitschy and catchy show that followed Mets games on Channel 9, whose theme song remains ingrained in every baseball fan of a certain age.

    As he said that night in Lefty O’Doul’s, across the street from the St. Francis Hotel: “I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of this life.”

    And he gave so many of us our full share too, in both laughter and memories. One last story from Rose: It was the last day of the ’98 season, and Kiner was doing a postgame show, same set, same theme song, and he invited Rose to join him. Rose said, “I thought you had to pitch a shutout or hit a game-winning home run to get on Kiner’s Korner.”

    And Kiner, waiting a beat, replied, “You know, you’re right. You’re just about the worst guest we’ve ever had on this show.”

    Both men broke up. All these years later, Rose cracked up again, remembering. A lot of laughter in one great man’s path. Turns out we all got our money’s worth.



    You know, in some ways Kiner's career as a broadcaster exceeded his Hall of Fame career as a player. If he's currently underrated or underremembered as a player perhaps it's because he outdid himself as a popular broadcaster whose broadcasting stood on its own merits.

    Leave a comment:


  • alpineinc
    replied
    That was a great video! Death threats for almost breaking Ruth's record! Thanks for posting.

    Leave a comment:

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