Ralph Kiner was the premier slugger in the National League between 1946 and 1954. During that time, he led the league in homers for 7 consecutive seasons. Injuries forced his retirement after only 10 seasons, but he has remained in the game, having been a broadcaster for the New York Mets since the team's first game. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.
I completed this sketch card in July 2012.
10 random facts about Ralph Kiner:
- While with the Pittsburgh Pirates, many of Kiner's homers were hit into a shortened left-field and left-center-field porch at Forbes Field, an area known as "Kiner's Korner"; Kiner would later use "Kiner's Korner" as the title of his post-game TV show in New York.
- In 1949, Kiner belted 54 home runs, falling just two short of Hack Wilson's then-National League record. It was the highest total in the major leagues from 1939 to 1960, and the highest National League total from 1931 to 1997.
- He holds the record of 8 home runs in four consecutive multi-homer games, a mark that he set in September, 1947.
- Through 2011, he has been one of 7 major leaguers to have had at least four 30-homer, 100-RBI seasons in their first five years (the others are Chuck Klein, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Mark Teixeira, Albert Pujols, and Ryan Braun).
- A back injury forced his retirement at the age of 32, with 369 home runs, 1,019 RBI and a .279 lifetime batting average.
- Kiner was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975; it was his final year of eligibility and he garnered 273 votes by the Baseball Writers Association (BBWA), one more than the minimum required for election. This is the closest call possible for any player elected by the BBWA.
- Kiner began broadcasting games for the Chicago White Sox in 1961, and then began calling games for the expansion Mets the following year; he is the only broadcaster to survive all of the Mets history.
- Kiner was elected to the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1984.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates retired his uniform number 4 in 1987.
- He is of Pennsylvania Dutch and Scots-Irish ancestry.