Fun with announcing, starring Ralph Kiner and Keith Hernandez
Posted by keithosaunders on September 2, 2010
Lest you think that the Yankees, with Phil Rizzuto and John Sterling, have cornered the market on eccentricity in the announcing booth, I am giving equal time to the New York Mets TV team. For years Ralph Kiner, the great Pittsburgh Pirates slugger, was a staple in the Mets announcing core. These days he is mostly retired, but every once in a while, say five or six times a year, they dust him off, prop him up, and bring him in. He’s always been a favorite of mine and he was a great announcer in his day, although he could be prone to mispronounce certain names or sponsors. Manufacturers Hanover became Manufacturers Hand Over, while Reds pitchers Mario Sota was transformed into Mario Soda.
Once again, the great Jeff Mazzei supplied the anecdote:
…the highlight was Kiner & Hernandez strolling down memory lane. Gary Cohen made the mistake of asking Ralph if the Mets and Astros had a natural rivalry in the early days because they were both expansion teams that arrived at the same time. Ralph said it was actually very one-sided with the Astros winning most of the time, but he loved coming to Houston because of the hotel. Keith chimed in that he knew exactly what hotel he was talking about (which he did).
Kiner said, “Yes, they had a great bar,” and Hernandez reminisced, “Yes, they had that great brown bag policy. Apparently, Harris County was a dry county, and this hotel let you bring your own liquor into the bar as long as it was concealed.
But this was just the beginning. Keith said, “You know, when I played triple A in Wichita, they had a bar with a policy that you could bring your own as long as you removed the label and replaced it with a label that just had your name, and you’d leave it on the counter. I used to love to tell the bartender, “Give me a Keith & tonic”.
And so began Ralph & Keith’s journey through the dry counties of triple A baseball. It was all the more hilarious due to Kiner’s slurred speech which was interrupted by Gary Cohen’s vain attempts to call the game. I guess you never know when Pandora’s box is about to be opened.
From the Yankee game, Michael Kay was reading a promo for Yankee Classics on the Yes Network. O’neill chimes in with, “Have the Yankees ever lost a game on that show? They must be 1000-0, like the Harlem Globetrotters.”