August 15, 2011
Veteran broadcasters Ralph Kiner and Jerry Coleman: politically incorrect moments
I watched the New York Mets' game with the San Diego Padres on August 11 on MLB Network which used a feed of the Mets' telecast.
In the booth with Keith Hernandez and another announcer was 88-year old Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner (pictured above). There was a discussion about players who hit a ball into the center field seats at the Polo Grounds and they mentioned, Joe Adcock, Lou Brock and Hank Aaron.
Kiner interjected that there was a fourth player to do it. He sort of stumbled in spitting out his recollection and then said, "That colored catcher." After a brief pause, probably in disbelief at Kiner's choice of words, Hernandez, or the guy working with him said, "Oh, Josh Gibson." Hall of Famer Gibson played in the Negro Leagues which had the occasional game in New York's Polo Grounds.
Approximately 15 years ago, I was listening to a Padres game. There was a discussion about the height of the pitchers' mound. I don't remember the figure about the elevation, but let's say that 10 inches was used. Padres broadcaster Jerry Coleman blurted out something to the effect, "If that's 10-inches high, then I'm a Chinaman."
Someone must have whispered in Coleman's ear because he quickly apologized.
The above was sent to one of my favorite sports columnists who replied, "I think your suggestion might apply to all broadcasters. Anyone who is on the air for hours at a time without a script is bound to say something he or she will regret. Except Vin Scully."