Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 17, 2003
BASEBALL: The Happy Recap

I was listening to the Mets radio broadcast the other night and Bob Murphy said that the Mets "certainly have no hope of any postseason action this year." Now, I've been realistic about this fact since April, but there's knowing you have no hope, and then there's hearing Bob Murphy say that there's no hope.

If there's been one unflagging constant with Murphy over his 42 seasons as a Mets broadcaster, leading up to his retirement after this season, it's that there was always hope. In 1962, the Mets started with a three-man broadcasting team of professional broadcasters Murphy and Lindsey Nelson and former player Ralph Kiner. Under the arrangement at the time, two of the announcers would do the TV broadcast and one would do the radio broadcast, and they would rotate every few innings. The choices could hardly have been better: the broadcasting team stayed unchanged for 16 seasons (Nelson retired in 1977), and Murphy and Kiner are still here. Murphy and Nelson were inducted in the broadcasters' wing of the Hall of Fame, and Kiner was inducted as a player in 1975. After the late 1970s, Murphy moved to radio full-time, while Kiner became part of the TV team; the past decade or so he has mostly worked either with Gary Thorne or, more recently, Gary Cohen.

Through it all -- including years on end of lousy baseball -- Murphy remained at all times the eternal optimist, the soul of a franchise whose stock in trade is the improbable comeback and the miracle team: "If Bruce Boisclair can get on here, Ron Hodges will come to the plate with the potential tying run on deck . . . " And he rarely had a harsh word for anyone, even the surly and despised Dave Kingman, who Murphy always referred to, most formally, as "David Arthur Kingman." Murphy always played it straight, as well: he's always left the analysis to the color man, preferring to just give you the game and the occasional anecdote to keep things moving. Just the same, you could always tell from the sound of his voice if the Mets were winning or losing, if a deep drive headed out of the ballpark was good news or bad. And if the Mets won, he would always announce the postgame show with, "and now, it's time for the happy recap." Probably Murphy's only regret as a Mets broadcaster, and one he has mentioned often on the air, is that the Mets never did get a no-hitter, despite some very close calls (especially by Tom Seaver).

Murphy is retiring after this season; although he can still call an entertaining game, you can hear him slipping on the air, and I'm sure he's tired of the travel. I'll miss him; he's been the voice of the Mets all my life, and for a variety of reasons I've listened to an awful lot of baseball on the radio over the years. Thanks for giving Mets fans everywhere hope. We'll need it.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 07:31 AM | Baseball 2002-03 | Comments (8) | TrackBack (1)
Comments

I remember Bob Murphy from the 1986 World Series. I am a big Red Sox fan and live about halfway between Boston and New York. During the series only the flagship station was allowed to carry the games. The Red Sox flagship was a small station near Boston I couldn't pick up. The Mets were on the powerful WFAN which I could get just fine. Itried listening to the games on the network but found the announcers to be too unemotuional in their commentary. I began to listen to Murphy preferring him despite his blatant rooting for the Mets. I prefered someone who cared even though he was against my team. And did he ever care. He wanted the Mets to win very badly.

But to this day I prefer his call of the Buckner boot to the more famous Scully call.
With great emotion he screams:

KNIGHT SCORES
METS WIN
METS WIN
AND THE RED SOX ARE IN STUNNED DISBELIEF

I'll never forget his call. Even though I was also in stunned disbelief.

Posted by: Tom Foley at September 17, 2003 09:38 PM

Actually, the "stunned disbelief" tagline was added by Murphy's partner in the booth that night... perhaps Gary Cohen. Trust me, I've heard it replayed at least a dozen times over the years.

Posted by: Bill Weber at September 19, 2003 11:03 AM

...Early March, still colder than you'd like it to be...flipping around the radio dial and suddenly the hope of summer streams into wherever you happen to be. It's a meaningless Spring Training game but the voice of Bob Murphy is so comforting and reassuring. It connects you with your childhood ; with those magical Game Sixes against the Astros and Red Sox...or the seasons at Shea with little hope---so many of them...with Butch Huskey and Dave Gallagher or Joe Orsulak ; with poetic phrases like " and the wind-up by the slender Panamanian lefthander...' or 'the bespeckled submarine-hurler for the Pirates, Kent Tekulve..." all delivered with grace and subtle passion. His wonderful home run calls : "Deep to right field, way-back, it may go....GONE...HOME RUN !" What a wonderful priveledge it has been to share so many thousands of pure baseball moments thanks to this gentle soul of a man. Thanks so much, Bob Murphy...you've been such a great part of our lives and we will miss you inning by inning and pitch by pitch.

Posted by: Rob at September 20, 2003 01:15 AM

I've been a Met fan forever. When March rolled around I would always listen to the first spring training game broadcast on the radio. Everytime, the first voice I would hear was Bob Murphy, and that was like the begining of summer for me. Even if it was still 32 degrees outside. God Bless You Mr. Murphy. You will be missed, but always remembered.

Posted by: Carlo Letizio at September 25, 2003 09:49 PM

Bob Murphy simply IS Mets baseball, period. 'The Mets ween, they ween!" How will we live without him?

Posted by: Max Stevens at January 2, 2004 06:02 PM

I WAS PRESENT AT THE "BOB MURPHY" FAREWELL CEREMOMIES. I HATE IT WHEN MEN CRY, BUT I ADMIT I DID SHED A TEAR. A PART OF MY CHILDHOOD WAS LEAVING. I HAVE SO MANY MEMORIES OF LISTENING TO MURPH AND BASEBALL..THE WAY IT USED TO BE. MY FAVORITE MURPH CALL WAS THE MARATHON..I THINK AGAINST THE PHILLIES? "THE METS WIN THE BALLGAME..THEY FINALLY WIN THE DAMN THING"! BY THE WAY..THE 1986 "STUNNED DISBELIEF" REMARK WAS SAID BY GARY THORNE.

Posted by: tony baxter at January 7, 2004 10:05 AM

does anyone have a mailing address for murphy?

Posted by: joe schwartz at March 7, 2004 06:39 PM

Actually the announcer who said "unbelievable, the Red Sox in stunned disbelief," was Gary Thorne.

Posted by: Scott Breier at August 12, 2004 12:52 PM
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