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Fans salute Bob Murphy08/06/2004 7:07 PM ET
For 42 years in the booth for the Mets, Bob Murphy brought Mets baseball to life on television and on the radio. MLB.com is collecting your memories of the voice of the Mets as part of tribute to the Hall of Fame broadcaster. Check back often for new postings and send us your own recollections of the voice of the Mets.
He was Buddy Harrelson, Little Alvin Jackson, Stork Theodore and Jerry Buchek. As kids, we couldn't wait for that first Spring Training game to hear his voice, because it meant that winter was over, the Mets were back, that it was baseball season, that it was summer time. We could again argue with our Yankee fan friends that Swoboda was better than Roy White, that it was Seaver over Stottlemyre, that we would take Boswell over Horace Clarke anytime.
During those balmy summer nights, he was great company. He was "Johnny McCarthy's ground crew manicuring the diamond," the "carousel moving" on the 3-2 pitch with two outs, telling us that you "never throw a slider to the Glider," or to "tighten your seatbelts" for a close game in the ninth.
Ralph Kiner said that his passing was like "losing a brother." To all Mets fans, it is like losing that favorite uncle, and certainly a best friend.
We are all so much richer for hearing him paint the word picture for those many years. Today, we are all that much poorer at his loss. Red Barber, Mel Allen and Vin Scully are all icons, but to most Mets fans, especially this one, the Murph will always be the best. At the pearly gates, we can only envision him being welcomed with open arms by Casey, Lindsey and the rest, saying "Well, Hi-eee everybody" as he joins the other immortals in the pantheon in the sky. Gosh, we will miss him.
The summers don't seem as long or as much fun as they did during the halcyon days of our childhood. Things change, we get older. Now, the summers will never be the same. So long, Murph, and thanks.
The way he always called Dave Kingman, David Arthur Kingman -- This cracked up me, my three brothers and my father so much that we still add "Arthur" to people's middle names to this day.
Would rather listen to Murph calling a game on the radio than watch the game on TV. Guess that about sums it up. You'll be missed, Murph.
My most wonderful memory of Bob Murphy (after all these years on the TV and radio), was the day in 1987 or '88 when, on a warm summery afternoon, I listened to the Murph call a game from "big Shea." It was the afternoon that the batted ball struck a low-flying pigeon in flight between second and third. Amazingly, Bob Murphy called the play, without skipping or hesitating a beat, as Rafael Santana lined it up: "He's under it -- but he missed it, and he missed the bird." After describing where the ball and bird had landed, he then made some comments about not needing to look in the rule book, because he was sure there was no mention of birds in there. What an announcer.
He lived a very long, but not nearly long enough, life, had fantastic work ethics and is a role model for younger people to be proud of. He left thousands of marks and memories for so many millions of people to remember and cherish. Unfortunately, he worked until his last year of life and couldn't enjoy the years of retirement that he should have. He was so likeable, caring, honest, and polite. He is already very sorely missed. God bless him and his family.
My most fondest memory of Bob Murphy will be the way he carried himself on the radio, he never once let on that he was a Mets fan, although the diehards knew of his love and passion for his beloved New York Mets and how proud we all were to have him call that last out of the 1986 World Series. We all knew Bob was gleaming with pride on that night. I think it only fitting that we sum up his life and his career with what he brought to all us Mets fans after every win. Let's all give Bob a Happy Recap!! God Speed to You Bob!
Murph was -- more so than my family, more so than teachers, more so than my own inner voices -- the voice of optimism. His voice was warm, and it was literate without talking down to you. He made me love and understand the game of baseball in a way I don't think I would have otherwise. I heard him call more than 1,000 games from the '80s onward -- my regret is that I couldn't hear more. Peace be with you and your family, Murph.
My favorite Bob Murphy memories are the summers when the team wasn't so good, in the late 70s. He made me believe the Mets had something special when we pinned our hopes on Steve Henderson and the guys we received for Tom Seaver from the Reds. Bob Murphy always gave Mets fans hope, and that is what I will miss the most. I feel like a part of my childhood left with him. What great memories of him along with Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner. Watching the Mets in those days was like watching with family. Didn't matter that much we didn't win alot of World Series like the Yankees; they were a part of the family. They are forever a part of my life. God bless you Mr. Murphy. All your days are now "happy recaps." Thank you for all the memories. Rest in peace.
I remember one game the Mets were playing the Expos at Shea. Warming up for the Expos was Bill Lee and Charlie Lea. The camera pans on them and Murph says, "In the bullpen for the Expos is Charlie Lea and Bill Lee... One man is from another
country... the other man is from another world. " Thanks Murph for all the Happy Recaps!
Gary Cohen: He is going to try to sneak a fastball by HoJo!
Bob Murphy was my favorite announcer. From a baseball perspective, there was nothing better than hearing Bob's voice during the first Spring Training game. To me that was the unofficial start of spring.
I grew up with a man I never met, who introduced me to a passion for a team that I have yet to lose. And the reason that I loved this team for so long is that I have spent countless hours from the time I was 13 listening to this man call Mets' games on the radio. The man was Bob Murphy. He drove with me everywhere, on long trips or just running errands around Connecticut, accompanied me on several dates (some of the girls I dated were often times not happy), and he caused me to almost crash a few times with some of the calls he made. He rode shotgun from April to September (or October a few times) without ever stepping foot in my vehicle.
Many speak of Bob Murphy's calls in big games, but my favorite memory is Bob Murphy's call of Spring Training games. About 10 years ago I was driving around on a cold winter day in New Jersey and I was switching stations on the radio and I came upon the mellifluous tones of Bob Murphy. I can't recall who the Mets were playing, but I remember that I just felt warm. For me, the snow on the ground melted, the grass was green, the sky was blue and I could hear the crack of the bat. I will always remember how great Bob Murphy made me feel on a cold winter day. God bless you and keep you.
My favorite Murphy call came in the early 1980s. Mets third baseman Hubie Brooks had already committed three errors in a game. A ball was hard hit to Brooks in the eighth inning and he "made quite a play." Bob's comments were: "Hubie Brooks..heeees had 10 chances...he's made allllll but three." I will miss him dearly.
Oh my, Lindsey, another great one has passed. A beautiful day for weather, but a sad day for all of us who grew up with the Mets in the '60s and '70s. The repercussions are felt even here in the turbulent Middle East (no doubt an adjective he would use). My friend Jay Kalish and I would use Murphy's voice to play by play even mundane things like going for breakfast while we were in college. The images described in the obits, of Bob Murphy's voice soothing us on hot humid August nights, brings back fond, long ago memories of far away. What we wouldn't do to have Seaver actually get the perfect game back in that fantastic August 35 years ago. Murphy helped soothe the pain that Jimmy Qualls inflicted with that ninth-inning single. May his memory be blessed. Over to you, Ralph Kiner.
A captivating, soothing voice to listen to and follow the Mets for free. For that I will always be especially grateful. Bless You, Murph.
I enjoyed listening to Murph call a game almost as much when the Mets lost as when they won. And therein lies the secret, probably, for the vaunted Mets fan optimism: Bob Murphy always reminded us of some hopeful development, and exemplified how a fan can love the game, win or lose. In his passing, my youth seems that much more behind me.
One summer day in 1964, I was walking through the World's Fair in Flushing with my older sister, who kept teasing me about my Mets cap that I wore proudly! Along came a tram carrying the New York Mets! I could hardly contain my excitement. I ran up to the tram, and there in front of me was Bob Murphy. I said, "Mr. Murphy, may I have your autograph?" and I thrust my World's Fair program in front of him. He smiled that gentle smile and said, "Sure!" He asked the driver to stop, then he signed my book. He obviously enjoyed my gushing about his play by play and how I listened to those games on the radio while hiding under the bed covers from my mother! Bob Murphy returned my book after getting Ed Kranepool to sign it. He shook my hand and thanked me for being such a good fan. Forty years later, I recall it as if it were yesterday.
It's a joy to give this "happy recap" of meeting Bob Murphy!
Didn't get to hear Murphy that much, was in the Navy for 20 years, from '62 to '82. But when at Johnsville, Pa., in '69, I custom built a radio so I could pick up the Mets games from the peanut-whistle station (AM 970 out of Newark, N.J.) that was their "flagship" station at the time -- think it ran a whopping 5,000 watts! Got the set running the night Tom Seaver almost had his perfecto against the Cubs. When Tom lost his perfect game in the ninth, I thought Murph was gonna cry on the air; we won the game, but don't recall a "Happy Recap" that night. Murph will be sorely missed -- I hope he and Lindsey are calling games up there right now (just hope God let Lindsey in there with his loud jacket!).
1. "Up goes the leg, around goes the arm, the big right-hander delivers the 0-2 pitch."
I think I first started listening in 1973 (I was 8) and it was a great 31 years. Please extend my condolences to his family.
He would describe players as nobody else: a "tall, strapping young man," a "rangy right-hander" or a "good looking young man". His customary phrases stuck with me through a lifetime, and have played through my head during just about every game I have ever watched: "Heee struck 'em out!" ... "St-rike three called" ... "Throws to second for one, on to first ... double play!" ... "He is ...ooo-uut at second base." And of course, "It's high fly ball, deep to center, way back, its going, gone, goodbye, a home run". Maybe the most common, and among the most indelible, was simple, elegant announcement of the next pitch being thrown: "Pitching 1-2." Murph even had a way of setting the defense: "And Rusty Staub, around in right." I always half-imagined right field as being around a corner.
So what should I have said to Bob? What would I like to tell his wife or kids? How could I possible convey to anyone what a man I met once for 30 seconds meant to me and how sad I am that my kids, now 4 and 2, will not have the privilege of loving the Mets through his eyes and voice? I don't know.
For me, the summer began the first day that WHN (later WFAN) broadcast a spring game. "From Thomas J. White Stadium
in St. Lucie, Fla., a Spring Training game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Well hiiiiiiiiiiiiii everybody, Bob Murphy..." were the words I longed to hear all winter, and I can still feel the goosebumps I felt every spring when I heard them. I remember the night he lost his composure and said, "The Mets win the damned ballgame!" I was away at baseball camp that summer, and my talent was recognized, not on the diamond, but having the best Murph impersonation
My best memory of Bob Murphy was during Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS. I was 16 years old and in driver's ed class with a Walkman in my pocket and an earpiece. When the game ended with Murph's classic call, I lost it and disrupted the entire class with cheers. Good thing the instructor was a Mets fan, too.
I was having lunch at a diner in Bayside roughly two years ago when I heard a voice from a couple of tables away saying, "I'll have two eggs with bacon and side of well-done toast." It was Murph! I looked at my father, who instantly recognized the voice, as well. He ordered his breakfast the same way he called a game!!! That glorious cadence to his voice was unmistakable and will be missed profoundly.
Bob Murphy simply was the voice of my childhood. I am a 24-year-old devoted Mets fan who listened to Murph for 20 years. While I was growing up, my parents wouldn't pay the extra money to get Sports Channel so I could watch the Mets games. It used to get me so mad that I couldn't actually see every game and that I had to listen to them on the radio. I never thought I would say this at the time, but thanks Mom and Dad. Without Murph, my summers would not have been as memorable.
A part of my heart died yesterday with Bob. I hope he knew how much he was loved by Mets fans and baseball fans alike. He will truly be missed and there will never be another one like him. God Bless Bob -- here's to more happy recaps!
Bob Murphy is synonymous with the New York Mets and summer. I'll always remember listening to his calls as we played stickball in the street, or how his voice echoed throughout the beach on countless radios on hot Saturday afternoons. He was there through it all and all New York baseball fans will miss him. He truly was the "Voice of Summer."
Murphy had a way of stating the obvious with a beautiful, innocent simplicity. "Boy, the Mets would love a Mike Piazza homer right about now, Gary. They could really use a win here tonight." No kidding, Murph. How could you not love the guy? To be a Mets fan is to love the game. It's not just about winning (obviously!). It's about loving your team, no matter what. And that's what the Murph was. He's part of what we love about the Mets. If the value of man's life is measured by what you leave behind and the people you've touched, Bob Murphy died "one of the luckiest men on the face of the earth."
Most every opportunity, I would turn on the TV to watch the Mets. I would then turn the volume all the way down and turn on the radio to hear Murph call it like no other could.
Like many boys, 1969 was the magical year. I was 10 that summer, the year I grew a transistor radio from my right ear. There it stayed all through the spring and summer ... Through it all were the remarkable calls of Murphy, Nelson and Kiner. To me and my friends, they were our connection. We lived for games on television (and the famous "Kiner's Korner" afterward), but learned to sneak the transistor radios beneath our pillows where we'd fall asleep to their calls. All too often, we'd beg our parents the next day for money for new 9-volt batteries ("Yeah, mom, these batteries just don't seem to last. I can't understand it.") I still wonder if my mom knew that it was Bob Murphy whispering in my ear at night that got me to bed through the summer of '69.
Bob Murphy's voice is as memorable to me as my father's. While there are literally thousands of Murphy memories in my mind, this line from the Ron Hunt-Ed Bailey fight stands out in my mind. "Ron Hunt saw that his only chance to score was to barrel into Big Ed Bailey. He barreled into him and they're still trying to keep them apart." That, Bob's golden home run call, and his cheery, positive outlook made him the memorable broadcaster in my life, the one who I will always compare others against. Bob will be missed by my generation of Met fans. One can only think of the words "happy recap" in summing up Bob's Met broadcast life. God Bless you, Bob.
It was never officially spring until I heard Bob Murphy calling a Mets Spring Training game. It didn't matter if it was raining, or even snowing, for that matter, when I heard the Murph, I knew spring was here. I will miss the happy recap. My deepest sympathy is extended to the Murphy family.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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