WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob
Murphy, who covered the New York Mets from the team's inception in
1962 until his retirement after last season, died Tuesday. He was 79.
Murphy died at the Hospice of Palm Beach County, the team said.
He had battled lung cancer since his retirement.
Murphy worked as a baseball broadcaster for 50 years, starting
with the Boston Red Sox in 1954 and then moving to the Baltimore
Orioles in 1960. He came to the expansion Mets in their first year,
joining Lindsay Nelson and Hall of Fame slugger Ralph Kiner as the
broadcast team. The trio worked together on radio and television
for 17 years before Nelson left for San Francisco.
"It's like losing a brother," Kiner said in a statement. "We
did everything together, we went to movies, ate together and
traveled together. It's so hard to fathom he's gone. It's has been
a terrible year for me -- first I lose my wife to cancer and now
Murphy spent the final 15 years of his career working on Mets
radio broadcasts with Gary Cohen. Kiner called his longtime partner
"the brother I never had."
Murphy's signature phrases included talking about "the happy
recap," after Mets victories and cautioning fans listening to
broadcasts of tight games to "fasten your seat belts."
"He could always find a silver lining, even when things weren't
going well. I liked that about him," said Yankees manager Joe
Torre, a former Mets manager and player. "He loved what he did for
a living, right to the very end."
Murphy was honored by the Mets at Shea Stadium last September.
"I've just loved it. It's been an incredible ride," Murphy
told the fans, who chanted "Mur-phy! Mur-phy!" when the
broadcaster was introduced. "I'm going to start missing you all
the minute I walk off this field."
Murphy received the Ford Frick Award in 1994 and was inducted
into the broadcasters' wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The radio
booth at Shea was named in his honor last season.
The San Diego Padres' former ballpark was known as Jack Murphy
Stadium from 1981-1997, named after his brother, the former sports
editor of The San Diego Union, in 1981.
Murphy is survived by his wife, Joye; daughters Kevin Murphy,
Kasey Murphy, Kelly Morris, Penny Haft and Patricia Haft; and son
Brian Murphy. A private family gathering is scheduled for Wednesday
in Florida, and the Mets said a memorial service in the New York
area will take place at an unspecified date.