|Ralph Kiner: 1922-2014|
On the field, sure. 50 HR power plays in any era, no matter how bad your glove is. He'd fit right in with the Prince Fielders and Adam Dunns and Paul Konerkos of the world, merrily mashing away and providing post-game interviews worth listening to.
Behind the mike, though, never. We won't see his like again. The father of malapropisms so famous they got their own name - Kinerisms - he would get hounded out of the broadcast booth by the joyless scolds who murmur ominous "well, actually"s at the faintest hint of error, by the barbed blogs of a million Fire Joe Morgan wannabes sensing an easy target.
Which is a shame, because for all that Kiner sometimes treated the English language like an extra in a Stephen King adaptation, he did so in service to his love of the game. To hear him puree two thoughts together in the quest to provide a tidbit for his listeners was to hear something unique and enjoyable, worthy of remembering with a chuckle, not rising in self-righteous wrath.
So let us take a moment to mourn the passing of the man who said “If Casey Stengel were alive today, he’d be spinning in his grave" and "All of his saves have come in relief appearances”. Let us hope that someday we get another announcer capable of gifting us with something as uniquely ridiculous as “The Mets have gotten their leadoff batter on only once this inning" and told us he'd be "back after this word from Manufacturers Hangover.”
And let us say, Amen.