When I glanced over the Mets promotional schedule the team emailed out a couple of weeks ago, I immediately grabbed a pen and wrote down one night that jumped off the page -- Saturday July 14th is Ralph Kiner Night. And all I can say is, it's about fucking time. Kiner was in good form last year during his appearances on the Friday night games. Ron Darling seemed to be even more pumped to be in the booth when Kiner would step in, and his prodding would bring some great stories and lines out of Ralph. For all of the misspoken words and odd phrases the man said over the years, he is still an essential part of the Mets way of life.
Yesterday I wrote how spring training brings out some great baseball feature writing; Kiner's life falls into that category today. He was in Port St. Lucie to call a few innings of the Mets-Indians game on SNY and the AP baseball writer Ben Walker used the opportunity to interview the Hall of Famer. Walker's piece is a great overview of Kiner's career on the field and life off it. And I discovered something I never knew before--it took Kiner all 15 years on the ballot to make the Hall of Fame. Geez, the voters can be pretty dumb.