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 NEW YORK (AP) -Ralph Kiner was in the New York Mets' broadcast booth before they played at Shea Stadium, and he'll be there after the team moves to Citi Field in 2009.
On Ralph Kiner Night, the Mets announced Saturday that their new broadcast booth will be named for the Hall of Fame slugger whose trademark postgame show, Kiner's Korner, became synonymous with summers in Queens.
The television booth at Shea Stadium is already named for Kiner.
The Mets pulled out all the stops to honor the voice of the team since it started playing in 1962. A logo featuring a blue, old-school microphone on an orange background with the date and the words ``Ralph Kiner Night'' could be seen all over Shea. It was on lapel pins, TV screens, podiums, a massive tarp covering the mound and - of course - on every microphone at a Hall-of-Famer heavy news conference.
The 84-year-old Kiner took the mike to address the crowd before the game. With his voice echoing throughout the stadium, he cited Lou Gehrig's famous speech in which the Yankees star proclaimed himself the luckiest man in the world.
``I feel I am a close second, having been able to be a part of baseball here in New York,'' Kiner said to thunderous applause. ``It was a great, great pleasure for me.''
A flock of former Mets, Hall of Famers and big-name broadcasters assembled on the field behind second base, including Rusty Staub, Jerry Koosman, Bob Feller, Yogi Berra, Tom Seaver, Keith Hernandez and Ernie Harwell.
A video tribute set to Frank Sinatra's ``Summer Wind'' was shown on the screen in left-center. It included highlights from Kiner's famous postgame show, Kiner's Korner, as well as black-and-white clips of Kiner circling the bases after one of his 369 career home runs in a career spent mostly with Pittsburgh. He also played for the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland.
The Mets showed video tributes from fellow broadcasting greats Harry Kalas, Vin Scully and Jon Miller between innings of their game against Cincinnati.
Kiner spent the 1961 season calling games for the White Sox, then joined the Mets for their first season in 1962. They played two years at the Polo Grounds, then moved into Shea Stadium.
Kiner never left, and along the way Kiner's Korner became an institution for Mets fans - one of whom is now the team's manager.
``I used to watch it all the time,'' Willie Randolph said. ``It's always been one of my favorites. I grew up watching Kiner's Korner.''
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