Ralph Kiner, a member of National Baseball Hall of Fame and an announcer for the New York Mets since the team's inception, died Thursday, the Hall of Fame announced. He was 91.
"With the passing of Ralph Kiner, the baseball world has lost one of its greatest ambassadors and the Hall of Fame has lost a wonderful friend," Jane Forbes Clark, the chairman of the Hall of Fame, said in a statement. "Ralph spent eight decades as a player, executive and broadcaster. He was a man who truly loved our National Pastime and made it better in every way. His legacy will live forever in Cooperstown."
Kiner spent 10 seasons in Major League Baseball, racking up a .279 batting average, 369 home runs, 1,451 hits, and 1,015 runs batted in with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, and Cleveland Indians, according to baseball-reference.com. He was a six-time All-Star, seven-time National League home run champion, and 1949 NL RBI leader.
Kiner was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a player in 1975 in his final year of eligibility through the Baseball Writer Association. He is also a member of the New York Mets Hall of Fame. The Pirates retired his No. 4.
Kiner was born in New Mexico and raised in California, where he died in his home with his family at his side, the AP reported.
"Someone asked me how come I signed up with the Mets (as a broadcaster), since they weren't going to win many games," he once said, according to the Hall of Fame. "I said: 'I've got a lot of experience with losing.'"