Sunday, September 16, 2012

Classic NY Mets broadcast team of Nelson, Murphy, and Kiner

My first memories of following baseball come from the 1969 season and the New York Mets tremendous broadcast team of Lindsey NelsonBob Murphy, and Ralph Kiner. This trio was the inaugural set of announcers for the expansion Mets in 1962 and stayed intact for 17 years handling both TV and radio duties.

Nelson was a versatile broadcaster who also called a lot of college and pro football on the national stage. He was known for wearing an array of colorful patterned sports jackets. Murphy was a solid announcer who also called some regional college football on ABC. He moved exclusively to radio when the Mets created separate radio and TV crews in 1982. Both Nelson (1988) and Murphy (1994) were honored by the baseball Hall of Fame with the Ford C Frick broadcasting award.

Kiner, a Hall of Fame player, was never a polished broadcaster and was prone to mispronunciations and malapropism. But he was a great storyteller and provided brilliant baseball insight. In 1973, Mike Schmidt struggled mightily during his first full season and stuck out frequently. But I recall watching a Mets-Phillies telecast that year as Kiner kept raving about Schmidt's swing and predicted he would have a bright future. Ralph also hosted the Kiner's Korner postgame show after home telecasts on WOR-TV channel 9. This quirky but popular show typically featured highlights from the game with Kiner interviewing a key player from the winning team.

This clip from the 1969 East division clincher features Murphy at the start, Kiner around the 0:57 mark and Nelson around the 1:23 mark.

After the 1978 season, Nelson left to become the lead announcer of the San Francisco Giants. Murphy remained the voice of Mets radio through the 2003 season. Kiner is still a part-time member of the Mets TV team and makes occasional on-air appearances.

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