Bob Murphy, 79, who spent 42 years behind the microphone for the New York Mets and who was named to the broadcasters' wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, died Aug. 3 at a hospice in West Palm Beach, Fla. He had lung cancer.
One of three broadcasters who joined the National League franchise for its inaugural season in 1962, Mr. Murphy was known for his enthusiastic and knowledgeable descriptions of the action and came to be known as "The Voice of Summer." He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994, and the radio booth at Shea Stadium was named in his honor in 2002. He announced the last of more than 6,000 games for the Mets on Sept. 25, 2003.
"It seemed he didn't have an ounce of negative energy in his body," said Mets star Mike Piazza. "He respected how difficult the game was and he tried to relay that to his listeners. He was one of the best ambassadors for baseball and for the Mets."
Mr. Murphy was born in Oklahoma and began his broadcasting career as a student at the University of Tulsa. After serving in the Marine Corps during World War II, he announced baseball games for the Muskogee Reds in his home state, and for the University of Oklahoma football team. He caught the ear of broadcaster Curt Gowdy, who invited Mr. Murphy to join him as an announcer with the Boston Red Sox in 1954.
Gowdy helped him soften his southwestern twang, and in 1960 Mr. Murphy began a two-year stint with the Baltimore Orioles. When he joined the Mets in 1962, he became a cheerful voice for a team that had little to cheer about. He was sometimes criticized for not holding the team responsible for its poor play in its early years.
His first broadcast partners in New York were Lindsey Nelson and Ralph Kiner. The three spent 17 years together before Nelson left to take a job with the San Francisco Giants. Kiner, 81, continues as an analyst on selected Mets broadcasts.
Mr. Murphy worked on both television and radio in his early years, but switched entirely to radio in 1981. His later broadcast partners included Gary Thorne and Gary Cohen.
He was known for his "happy recaps" after the team's victories and covered the Mets' two World Series championships in 1969 and 1986.
Mr. Murphy had a passion for cars and once drove straight through from Long Island to the Mets' spring training camp in St. Petersburg, Fla., with stops only for coffee. He signed the hotel register as "Robert E. Mets," and team insiders continued to call him by that name for years.
Survivors include his wife and six children.