Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Ralph Kiner

Happy 4th of July. Today I was forced to watch the Pirates on MLBtv since it was not on television for some reason. During the middle innings Ralph Kiner came into the booth to do a little broadcasting. I believe he works for their broadcasting team and has been with the Mets since 1962 and has won three Emmy awards for broadcasting. During his ten year career, which was spent mostly with the Pirates, Kiner hit 369 home runs, drove in 1015 runs, and lead the league in home runs 7 straight seasons. He was also a career .280 hitter.

I remember when I was about 8 or 9 my father and I were at a Pirates game at Three Rivers Stadium. The game was out of hand for the Pirates as they were playing the Mets and we left early, only to find Ralph Kiner outside the stadium walking around the front offices. My dad told me who he was and I ran over with a pen and my ticket and got his autograph.

Kiner sounded drunk in the booth today. I don't know if it is because he is old, or what, but he sounded like he had drank a fifth of Jack in 80 degree weather. Ralph Kiner is old. He's 84. He told a story about Honus Wagner never paying for a drink in Pittsburgh when he was a coach for the Pirates, and Kiner was a player. He debuted in 1946 at the age of 23 and only played 10 seasons due to a chronic sciatica problem which caused his retirement after the 1955 season which he spent with the Indians.

Anyway, the Pirates lost another 1 run game, 7-6. They were ahead late and Roberto Hernandez gave up a couple hits after Torres came out after two walks and only 1 out. ANother near win, another 1 run loss. I don't buy into Tracy's claims that were are getting better because look how close we are in games. If we were good or even better we would be winning those games, not losing them. I truly believe we are getting better and we need to let our young players develop but stop playing Burnitz and Randa. We need to get a look and give our young guys a chance.


Steve said...

I also heard Kiner in the booth and they showed him on camera, briefly. Fat old guy, now. I did have the thought that he was in his cups a bit, too. Good storyteller, though.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately since I don't have a dish yet and can't watch the bucs I get to watch the Mets a lot (hate the yankees), but Kiner had a major stroke a few years back which left him partially paralyzed on one side, he has bells palsy on one side of his face so that is why he sounds the way he does. In my eyes even though he works for the mets he'll always be a Buc..

domains said...

Ralph suffered a bout of Bell's palsey a few years back and his speech has been somewhat slurred ever since.