Former Pittsburgh Pirate Ralph Kiner passed away on February 6, 2014. He was known for his Hall of Fame baseball career and for being a positive force in the baseball community.
Here are five interesting facts about Kiner:
A porch at Forbe’s Field was named after the slugger
The dynamic baseball player was known for having a powerful bat. In fact, Forbe’s Field, which was Kiner’s home baseball park for most of his career, named a porch after him, “Kiner’s Korner.” This porch was at the left-center section of the ballpark, a place where Kiner’s home runs usually ended up. The former left fielder also named his baseball television show after the porch.
The former Pittsburgh Pirate led the National League in home runs during seven seasons
One of the defining aspects of Kiner’s baseball career was that he hit a significant amount of home runs. During his playing career, only a few were better when it came to racking up home runs. Kiner had such a good knack for hitting the ball over the fence that he led the National League in home runs during all of the seasons he played except for his last three.
Kiner was an announcer for the New York Mets
A few years after his professional baseball career ended, in 1961, Kiner became a member of the broadcast team for the Chicago White Sox. In 1962, the legendary outfielder continued his broadcasting experience, as he started to broadcast games of the New York Mets. His last season as an announcer of the Mets was in 2013.
Ralph Kiner had an issue with saying names
The famous baseball player earned an Emmy Award for broadcasting, but he did have a tendency to say incorrect names. For instance, he would call baseball broadcaster Tim McCarver “Tim MacArthur,” and Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter “Gary Cooper.”
Was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his last year of eligibility
Kiner would have had a much better resume if he had stayed in the league for more seasons. However, due to having a solid baseball career and a great personality, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975, which was his last year of eligibility.
On a final note, during his baseball career, from 1946 to 1955, he was able to hit 369 home runs. Kiner could have had even better career statistics: he started his baseball career after World War II, in which he was a member of the U.S. Navy; and, at age 32, he had a career-ending back injury.
Nonetheless, Kiner was a superb baseball player and a compassionate person.
Tom Harrington is a passionate fan of baseball. His favorite sports team is the Boston Red Sox.
Bill Malden, “Ralph Kiner, Mets broadcasting legend and Hall of Fame Pirates player, dead at 91,” NY Daily News.
Bruce Weber, “Ralph Kiner, Slugger Who Became a Voice of the Mets, Dies at 91,” The New York Times.
“Hall of Fame slugger Ralph Kiner dies at 91,” Yahoo! Sports.