August 4, 2004

UNHAPPY RECAP:

Bob Murphy, an Original Voice of the Mets, Dies at 79 (RICHARD SANDOMIR, 8/04/04, NY Times)

Bob Murphy, who brought a sunny disposition and "happy recaps" to Mets television and radio broadcasts from the team's first game in 1962 until his retirement last season, died yesterday at a hospice in West Palm Beach, Fla. He was 79.

The cause was lung cancer, the Mets said.

Murphy was as much an original Met as Al Jackson, Jay Hook or Don Zimmer, and he lasted longer with the team than any player, manager or owner.

He was hired in 1962 by the Mets' owner, Joan W. Payson, after his two-year announcing stint with the Baltimore Orioles, and he was teamed with Ralph Kiner and Lindsey Nelson. It was a tape of his call of Roger Maris's 60th home run against the Orioles in 1961 that piqued Payson's interest in him.

Murphy was part of a generation of announcers - along with Vin Scully, Ernie Harwell, Harry Caray and Jack Buck - who built their reputations in radio and whose voices became intimately linked to their teams.

Murphy's upbeat style was especially useful in the Mets' early years, when they were awful, but he was also behind the microphone for the Mets' World Series triumphs in 1969 and 1986, and for their World Series losses to the Oakland Athletics in 1973 and to the Yankees in 2000.

Murphy's uncritical approach occasionally stamped him as a homer who strained to offer kind explanations for the team's miscues.

But he simply preferred to paint cheerful verbal portraits of the game. In a 1994 interview he said that his mentor, Curt Gowdy, with whom he called Boston Red Sox games in the 1950's, told him, "Let's announce like we're friends, just talking to each other."


Your Mom may have tucked you in, but Bob Murphy's voice was the last thing you heard at night.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 4, 2004 4:58 PM
Comments

NY didn't have the best baseball teams in the early-mid 70's (the Met's '73 fluke notwithstanding), but with Murphy, Kiner and Nelson on the Mets' broadcasts and Bill White, Frank Messer and a then still-coherent Phil Rizzuto on the Yankee side, we had some mighty fine announcers to keep us company all summer....

Posted by: Foos at August 4, 2004 6:36 PM

One of the blessings of my San Diego childhood was falling asleep to Vin Scully's dulcet tones on warm summer nights.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at August 4, 2004 6:58 PM

I was a full grown man when I moved to New York and I listened to Bob Murphy broadcast Mets games. He was a beauty. We will miss him. "Good-night, sweet prince,. . . flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 4, 2004 8:01 PM
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