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Murphy beloved in New York08/03/2004 9:40 PM ET
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Finding someone more beloved than Bob Murphy was on the New York sports landscape would be difficult. The transplanted Oklahoman weaved his way into the fabric of baseball in the Big Apple, joining the Mets in 1962, forever stamping himself in the hearts and on the minds of those who followed the team from Queens. He joined Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner and for two decades, the trio was as synonymous with New York as the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty. Murphy's passing on Tuesday, though, at the age of 79, leaves a void on that New York sports scene. It was a stage on which Murphy never desired to have the spotlight. Yet his longevity and the love affair the city had with him made it almost impossible for him to be anything short of legendary. From his weather reports detailing the "high cumulonimbus clouds" drifting above Shea Stadium to his revered Happy Recaps, Murphy touched millions of lives during the more than 6,000 games he broadcast. His passing from lung cancer drew poignant responses from all, many of whom were almost at a loss to describe how much Murphy meant to them and their baseball experience. "As far as I'm concerned he always 100 percent tried to help me," Mets radio voice Ed Coleman said. "You know, I didn't come up the typical broadcaster way and he could have very easily resented me and he didn't. He always treated me warmly, trying to help me and give me hints on how to do things, pointing out how I should do things. That's what I think of when I think of Murph', how receptive and cordial he was. He made me a better broadcaster than when I started. "His passing was almost the passing of an era. I wondered how people would react when Murphy retired. He wasn't a dominating figure like Vin Scully or some of the other guys. But I was surprised when I heard all the stories about Murphy from people when they were growing up, listening to him in the car or at the beach. That's what baseball on the radio is all about. Guys like Murph have a place in you heart and in your life and its tough when they go." Bob Wolff broadcast games for the Washington Senators and the Minnesota Twins in the '50s and '60s before going to work for the Knicks and Rangers. Like Murphy, he is an old-school professional. Also like Murphy, he has his place in baseball's Hall of Fame. Wolff, like Murphy, could paint a wonderful picture with words. He says it's a gift Murphy never lost.
Said pitcher Al Leiter, "For me, Bob Murphy and the Mets were one. I can't tell you how many games I listened to in the car and in my room growing up. Listening to Bob, Lindsey and Ralph were memories that I'll never forget."Prior to Wednesday's Mets-Brewers game, Madison Square Garden Network will air a half hour special honoring Murphy. The show will revisit the highlights of Murphy's career, including the special Sept. 19, 2003 telecast during which Murphy went back into the television booth to join his old friend Kiner. Current Madison Square Garden broadcaster and former Mets captain Keith Hernandez summed it up best. "The thing I remember most is that there wasn't a mean bone in his body," Hernandez said. "When I was first traded to the Mets from the Cardinals, it was like I had known Murph for 50 years. His is a generation gone by, the generation of announcers I grew up with."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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