Mets broadcasters Gary Cohen and Howie Rose.

Mets broadcasters Gary Cohen and Howie Rose. Credit: Mark Levine; New York Mets

Howie Rose and Gary Cohen have been Mets fans or announcers for six decades, a shared passion that has led to a close friendship.

But two of those many seasons as kindred spirits were unlike the others. In 2004 and ’05, they not only shared the Mets, they shared a radio booth.

Bob Murphy had retired as Cohen’s partner after the ’03 season, and Rose took his seat. In ’06, Cohen left his to join SNY’s fledgling TV booth.

In between was a stretch both recalled fondly in interviews with Newsday as they neared their inductions into the Mets’ Hall of Fame on June 3, along with Al Leiter and Howard Johnson.

“Those were incredibly special years to me,” Cohen said, adding that as much as he appreciated working with Murphy starting in 1989 and with Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling since 2006, “those two years were different.”

“Howie and I, even though we didn’t know each other growing up, really shared a lot of the same experiences of being Mets fans, and we could in many cases finish each other’s sentences,” Cohen said.

“I call Howie my brother from another mother. In many ways, we’ve been equally honored with this idea of being the Mets fan representative in the booth, and to be there at the same time and working together and sharing stories and bouncing things off each other, it was almost like he was in my brain and I was in his.

“It was fabulous. It was endlessly fun.”

Howie Rose, Mets broadcaster

Howie Rose, Mets broadcaster Credit: New York Mets

Rose said, “We both shared a lifetime of experiences with a team that we love, part of a fan base that we understood and most importantly understands us and kind of gets us.

“So I really felt that those two years were the closest you could come to sitting back in the upper deck watching a game with your friend and talking about it as intimately as you wanted to, only we were doing it on the air.

“The only thing that was missing was to be yelling out for the hot dog guy .  .  . Gary and I could have been sitting next to each other at a game, for all we knew, when we were kids.”

Rose credits working with Cohen as the Mets went 61-91 and 83-79 in those years for teaching him radio play-by-play, especially the need for detailed description.

“I took that as my two-year primer,” Rose said. “When Gary left and they turned me loose in that role, I felt infinitely more prepared for it than I would have been two years prior.”

Rose, 69, and Cohen, 65, both are from Queens, and both are still on the job in their home borough. Rose now skips some road trips but works the majority of games on WCBS-AM radio.

Cohen, Darling and Hernandez are in their 18th season on SNY, surpassing the 17 years of the original Mets broadcast team of Murphy, Ralph Kiner and Lindsey Nelson.

Those three announcers have been in the Mets’ Hall of Fame since 1984. Joining them adds to the honor for two guys who grew up listening to them.

“When somebody says, ‘You are to my generation what Lindsey, Bob and Ralph were to yours,’ it knocks me out,” Rose said. “I can’t tell you how flattering it is.

“It’s like an affirmation that your life’s work is worth something. To have that sort of consummated in this incredible honor, by being inducted into the Mets’ Hall of Fame, brings it full circle. It’s beyond my ability to believe. It’s just fabulous.”

Cohen said: “I try to work hard every day to keep up the standard that Lindsey, Ralph and Bob set at the at the outset for all of us. Howie and I both feel that very strongly.”

Rose and Cohen take none of this for granted.

“I’ve really had trouble wrapping my brain around it,” Cohen said. “Being a Mets broadcaster is still rather remarkable to me. The fact that I’ve been here 35 years is unfathomable to me.

“The idea that I’m going into this incredibly small, elite group of just a few dozen people representing 62 years of Mets history is beyond comprehension. I don’t think it’ll really hit me until I walk out on that field and have to make a speech in front of 40,000 people. It really feels like it’s happening to somebody else.”

Rose said: “If someone would have told me back when I was sitting there watching [Tom] Seaver and [Jerry] Koosman and all my boyhood idols that someday I would be joining them in the Mets’ Hall of Fame, something that didn’t even exist back then, I would have said, ‘You’ve got to be nuts.’

“Where does this make the slightest bit of sense? But I have pinched myself and it is real and it’s spectacular.”

Even though it has been nearly 20 years since Rose and Cohen worked side by side, they see each other nearly every day during the grind of the baseball season.

And just as if they had met in the upper deck of Shea Stadium in 1969, they have a lifelong bond.

“It’s great,” Cohen said. “We love each other. We’re colleagues, we’re friends, we share a lot of the same mindset. It’s just a very comfortable relationship. Howie is somebody who I will treasure until the day I die.”

Fame Game

What: Mets 2023 Hall of Fame induction.

When: Saturday June 3 prior to game vs. Blue Jays. Mets advise fans to be seated by 3:30 p.m. for the ceremony.

Where: Citi Field

Inductees: Howard Johnson, Al Leiter, Gary Cohen, Howie Rose. Additionally, Jay Horwitz, the team’s longtime media relations head, will receive the team’s Hall of Fame Achievement Award.

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