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Murphy makes his last call08/03/2004 4:47 PM ET
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- The Voice of Summer never cracked, never wavered, even on his night, last Sept. 25.
The Voice of Summer, just as it has for the last 42 years, delivered the message in the simple, confident tones, once again rising to the occasion.
Awash in the cheers of his many fans, Bob Murphy stood at the podium behind Shea Stadium's home plate and offered one final happy recap. Only this time, he wasn't bringing to an end one of the more than 6,000 games he has called for the Mets. Rather, Murphy was putting an exclamation point on a Hall of Fame career that came to a conclusion that evening.
Murphy, an original Met whose easy-going style has become synonymous with baseball in the Big Apple, called his final game Thursday evening as the Mets took on Pittsburgh. It was Bob Murphy Appreciation night in Queens and prior to the game, the veteran broadcaster was honored by the club, by his friends and peers, his family and former players.
"The Mets have provided me with a way of life," Murphy said. "And I have enjoyed it so much. Just can't believe how much I love it. I just hate to say goodbye. It was a lot easier saying hello the first day I came to New York 42 years ago. Let me tell you fans how much I love you and how great you've been. Thanks for allowing us to be a part of your life."
He spoke calmly and clearly, his emotions never getting the best of him. There were no tears shed. His wife, Joye, was clearly moved by much of the ceremony though, which was interrupted several times by spontaneous applause. Murphy then smiled and waved before disappearing into the tunnel behind home plate.
Gary Cohen, Murphy's broadcast partner, emceed the ceremony, which was attended by several former Mets, including Tom Seaver and Keith Hernandez. Ralph Kiner, the other original Met, was also on hand to honor his colleague. Even Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand, offering a proclamation that Thursday would be Bob Murphy Day in New York City.
"A love affair began in 1962," Cohen said. "The Mets may have subscribed to Murphy's Law that year but it was Murphy's voice to which the fans tuned in. Whether it was tension-filled pennant drives or as the muffled voice from transistor radios beneath our pillows, each syllable spelled elation or devastation."
In addition to Bloomberg's proclamation, Seaver, John Franco and Al Leiter presented Murphy with a framed No. 42 jersey, signed by the players on this year's team. He was given a bronze plaque, a replica of which will now hang at Shea Stadium.
Radio personality Jody McDonald also spoke. His father, Joe McDonald, was the Mets general manager from 1975-79 but started out as a statistician for the broadcast team in 1962. McDonald grew up a Mets fan and presented Murphy with a cruise on behalf of WFAN, the club's flagship station.
"I grew up literally and figuratively with Murphy," Jody McDonald said. "He's enshrined in the hearts of every single New York Mets fan."
Kiner has no plans on retiring just yet. But he knows the broadcast booth won't be the same without Murphy.
"It's hard to believe that Murph and I have been together for 42 years," Kiner said. "It's with great pleasure and sadness that I introduce Bob. We're like brothers. I've had all those wonderful times with him. It will be sad without him but I'm happy for him. I'm proud to have been with him for all these years."
During the game there were video tributes to Murphy in between innings by broadcasters, past and present, from around the country, each lending a unique perspective to Murphy's career.
"I've loved this so much and enjoyed this so much," Murphy said. "I'd still be going strong if I felt as good as I did a few years ago."
Kevin T. Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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