From SABR member Jayson Stark at ESPN.com on February 7, 2014:
I never got to see the late, great Ralph Kiner swing a bat. But I was lucky enough to spend many summer evenings listening to him speak into a microphone.
And it was hard to think of a better way to pass a few hours than that, on many levels.
Ralph Kiner was a beautiful man. Try to find anyone who ever met him who didn’t love him, or love being around him. Anyone.
He had a story for every occasion. He saw the game on levels a lot of people didn’t. And he had one of life’s special gifts — the ability to laugh at himself.
I’m especially grateful for that last gift because, as anyone who read my old Week in Review column in the Philadelphia Inquirer could tell you, I somehow became America’s foremost collector of Ralph Kiner malapropism classics.
It became, after a while, a weekly feature of that column, because, let’s just say, there was never a shortage of those pearls to choose from.
Collecting them was a labor of love, and it didn’t require much labor. I heard many of them myself. And Kiner fans sent them to me by the hundreds.
They were true treasures of American broadcasting. And the reason I felt free to relay them to the world was simple:
Ralph didn’t mind.
Not one bit.
Originally published: February 7, 2014. Last Updated: February 7, 2014.