Mets broadcast booth presented with Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award from BBWAA

Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Gary Cohen

Keith Hernandez, Ron Darling and Gary Cohen/SNY

Saturday evening, Gary Coen, Keith Hernandez And Ron Dear were honored with the Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award given annually by the New York Baseball Writers Association of America to a group of players, or a specific team, forever connected with baseball history.

Known throughout the baseball world as the Mets booth, GKR celebrates 17 years working side-by-side, bonding a former Mets TV trio of Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy And Ralph Kiner, who announced Mets games together from their 1962 expansion season through 1979.

“To me it’s the Willie, Mickey and Duke Award, but it could easily win the Lindsey, Bob and Ralph Award because Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner were the original voices of the Mets,” Cohen said. “And in some shape or form we’ve been trying to fill their shoes for the past 17 years.”

While they aren’t field teammates, GKR has been a teammate in the booth since 2006 and has risen to become one of baseball’s greatest stands, filling the shoes of Nelson, Murphy, and Kiner quite nicely.

“We never dreamed, I don’t think, when we started in 2006 that we’d be here today related to them,” Hernandez said. “It’s just a great honor for longevity to be together, it’s such a great honor.”

Darling added: ‘It started, we didn’t all know exactly what we were doing, so we grew up together and I think 17 years later, and I always say that and I’m not trying to age these guys but I never had a big brother and these guys they are my older brothers.

Just as Darling regards his counterparts as family, millions of Mets fans around the world feel a similar connection with the Mets booth they’ve watched, heard and allowed into their homes all these years.

However, contrary to popular belief, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, especially in the beginning.

“We were all in the dark when we started and if you’re in a dark room and you can’t see, you reach out to shake and we’ve been holding hands for 17 years and it’s worked out fine,” Cohen said.

Now, after all their accomplishments, the trio will be “forever linked in baseball history” just as the award describes.

It’s also been a busy start to the year for Cohen who, along with this award, was selected to the Mets Hall of Fame earlier this month, a long overdue honor for the voice of the Mets and team fan since he was six years old.

“We are very lucky to have Gary play-by-play,” Hernandez said. “Ron and I are not professionals. We were professional baseball players. It’s the master, Gary, and he’s got to get us into the drive and if we go a little bit out of our lane, he’s got to get the old fishing pole out there and pull us back.

While Cohen has never worn a Mets jersey, Darling likened him to a great coach in how he works alongside the two former players.

“I don’t think Gary could get a cutline high enough to hang out with us on the field,” Darling said with a laugh. “But what I feel about Gary is that he’s just the manager. He’s like being among one of the greatest managers you could ever have.”

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