On April 11, 1962 National League Baseball returned to New York as the Mets faced the Cardinals in St. Louis. Welcoming all fans who tuned into a game was the man with the calming voice that would become the voice of the franchise.
His name was Bob Murphy, who was joined by Lindsay Nelson, and Ralph Kiner as the trio whose voices would accompany Mets baseball to fans who at first referred to the team as the "lovable losers" as they lost 120 games that first season.
Murphy would be the unknown of the three as Kiner was a Hall of Fame slugger who owned the Home Run title in the late 40s and early 50s, and Nelson was already well known for Notre Dame Football recap. Prior to coming to the Mets, Murphy had worked with the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles from 1954-1961, so this was his shot at the big time in New York.
The three would work together as the franchise grew, and when 1969 arrived they were there to paint the picture in words of the Mets Amazin' run to the World Series, which started when Murphy called Joe Torre's double play ball which clinched the first ever NL East title for the Mets, a mere 7 years after they were baseball's laughing stock.
Murphy's voice filled the airwaves again in 1973 as they rose from the cellar to the 7th game of the World Series in a mere 2 months with the motto "You Gotta Believe," stated originally by Tug McGraw, it could also serve as the motto for Bob Murphy who never seemed to get to down, and you always had a feeling the Mets could comeback when you heard his voice.
All throughout their 1973 Murph's voice seemed to be there for each dramatic moment the ball off the ball play to out that clinched the NL Pennant as Milner flipped to McGraw.
As the Mets hit the depressing late 70s New York was plunged in darkness as crime was rampant, disco was on the radio, and the Mets were in last place again, this time there was nothing lovable about these losers. However through it all Bob Murphy's voice was the stalwart even as Lindsay Nelson left for the San Francisco Giants in 1979.
A few years later the Mets looking for more continuity decided to stop rotating announcers between the radio and television booths. Kiner, who was seen as the more marketable star was given the job on television. As Murphy was relegated to radio, a move that was considered a demotion at first.
However, it was there that Murphy shined, and truly took over as the voice of summer, weather it be on the drive home listening to Mets extra with his calls of mammoth Darryl Strawberry Home Runs or blazing Dwight Gooden fastballs Murphy's voice painted the picture so perfectly it was as if you were actually seeing it yourself. Murphy like a great artist was even able to paint the perfect picture of baseball right down to the puffy cumulus clouds on warm sunny days.
By 1986 the Mets were the best team in baseball and were back in the postseason for the first time in 13 years, and it was Bob Murphy who was there to bring it home for everyone, as the Mets battle the Houston Astros in a drama filled NLCS where Murphy's voice painted the perfect picture of Len Dykstra's Game 3 Home Run and Jesse Orosco striking out Kevin Bass to send the Mets to the World Series, where things only got wilder.
A World Series that was supposed to be easy for the Mets to win was going all wrong suddenly the Mets were facing elimination down 5-3 in the 10th Inning the Red Sox were already celebrating and for a 10-year old Mets fan on the brink of tears with the radio in his ear when he was supposed to be asleep Murphy sounded like the only one who thought the Mets could still win even after the first two batters flied out.
A hit by Gary Carter, followed by Kevin Mitchell, followed by Ray Knight suddenly the Mets had life, now the score was 5-4 and the tying run was on 3rd. In came Bob Stanley and with Mookie Wilson at the plate it seemed as if the world had stopped. With 2 strikes Mookie kept battling and suddenly there was a wild pitch the game was tie there was life again.
But it seemed as if the Roller Coaster ride would continue on to the 11th Inning as Mookie Wilson hit a weak trickling ground ball, but as Bob Murphy who could not hold his excitement yelled, "Gets by Buckner Gets by Buckner" I leaped out of bed and did not care what punishment I had gotten. Memories like that fill the hearts and minds of all Mets fans that grew up with the Murph at the mic.
A few days later the Mets would complete the dream and Murphy was there with the call of the final out as they mobbed Jesse Orosco on the mound.
Bob Murphy would never call another Mets World Championship as their dream in 1988 fell short in the NLCS, which was followed by another prolonged period of losing in the 90s.
By the time the Mets had become contenders again in 1998, Murphy was still there, and was now a Hall of Famer, inducted into the broadcasters' wing at Cooperstown as winner of the Ford C. Frick award in 1994. Though clearly slowed by age, he was still the same Bob Murphy welcome you at the start of each game as if he was inviting you in his own living room. You could take off you shoes and have a drink it seemed as each game started with his trademarked friendly greeting.
As a new millennium began Bob Murphy worked fewer games as his eyes began to fail him, and he began to struggle with long fly balls which when he said they were hit a mile high you almost believed him but by now by the time the ball landed Murphy was out of breath, eventually he would announce his retirement, as he was honored on September 25, 2003 in the Mets final home game of the season, which would also be Murph's last behind the mic in the radio booth which now bear his name. Though the Mets did not win that final game for Murphy his career was one continuous "Happy Recap" for Mets fans everywhere.
Sadly that voice was silence forever on August 3rd as Bob Murphy passed away in Florida at the age of 79 after a brief battle with lung cancer, but looking back at his life, there is no other way to describe it but as the ultimate happy recap.
©2004 Tank Productions.