I never got to meet Ralph Kiner, but I feel like I spent many hours with him since I started watching Mets baseball in the 1980s. It just won’t be the same without Kiner visiting the broadcast booth or turning up at Citi Field for special occasions.
There’s never been the Mets without Ralph Kiner calling their games or, per his more recent part-time role, interrupting them. The Ralph of whom we were treated to select innings in the SNY era was the dandiest of intermittent presences. He was a baseball sage who could address any element his partners steered his way, and in doing so, he transported his audience to bundle after bundle of games, years and personalities that nobody else was telling us about anymore. It was a gift he kept on giving, and knowing that the gifts wouldn’t always pile up under the baseball tree made them that much more precious when we were lucky enough to receive them.
The comments are open if you want to share your memories of Ralph Kiner.
David Wright was cleared to”return to baseball activity as tolerated,” the Mets announced yesterday. We’ll find out this evening if he’s up to facing Cliff Lee and the Phillies. We can only hope that the pain/discomfort of a fractured pinkie doesn’t cause Wright to alter his swing. The prospect of a quick return to the lineup is vastly more appealing than starting Ronny Cedeno on a regular basis or shifting the infield around and denying Daniel Murphy the chance to get better at playing second base… let’s hope it’s a sound decision.
Another currently-injured third baseman was the subject of too much attention yesterday, when WFAN reported that the Mets planned to acknowledge the career of Chipper Jones during the Atlanta Braves’ final visit to New York this year. I’m not a Chipper Jones fan, but he has been one of the great players of his era – it’s appropriate to hand him a plaque and a bottle of wine to acknowledge his place in the game’s history. No one really made a fuss when Bobby Cox received those small tokens a couple of years ago during his final visit to New York. But with both the Mets and the Yankees off yesterday, I guess the news cycle needed some sort of manufactured storyline….
In the first few years of the 1990s, it seemed like everyone wanted to collect baseball cards and watch as their value increased.
In 1991, a company called Front Row put out a set of baseball draft picks. They marketed directly to collectors as well as selling to dealers, and they offered a variety of promo cards, numbered autograph cards, and foil-stamped parallel versions. In 1992, they produced a second draft pick set (which includes one of the more unusual early Derek Jeter cards) and they branched out with individual sets for current stars like Ken Griffey Jr. as well as retired legends of the game.
While a few of the Front Row autograph cards have held their value, there’s little demand for most of the company’s products today. Earlier this month, I was able to pick up a five card set of Ralph Kiner cards for 50 cents from a dealer at a baseball card show.
Chris Potter Sports announced a new round of private signings, including a number of former Mets. Items are due by Aug. 15 and will be shipped back by Oct. 10.
Ralph Kiner, Rusty Staub, Mike Torrez, Mickey Lolich, Dean Chance, Bret Saberhagen, Kevin Collins, Jim Gosger, Frank Tanana, John Franco, Jay Hook and Joe Christopher are among the names that might be of interest to Mets fans. Prices range from $8-$50, depending on the player and the item to be signed.
I know I need Chance for my Mets all-time roster project, but I have to figure out if I need any of the others for side projects.