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Former Hall-of-Fame Pittsburgh Pirates’ Outfielder Ralph Kiner Dies at 91

February 6th, 2014 at 7:16 PM
By Allan Smith

One of the all-time greatest Pittsburgh Pirates, Ralph Kiner died of natural causes Thursday at his home in California. He was 91.

Kiner played for the Pirates for parts of eight of his ten big league seasons. He led the NL in home runs his first seven seasons in the majors, topping out at 54 in 1949, a team record to this day. In addition to all the home runs, Kiner led the league in OPS and walks three times in addition to leading the league in runs and RBI once apiece. He was a six-time All-Star and finished in the top 10 of MVP voting five times. Between 1947-1952, Kiner's average WAR was 7.3 while averaging 45 home runs and 115 RBI, and he did it while playing on some of the very worst Pirates teams of the 20th Century.

'Ralph Kiner Hall of Fame Plaque' photo (c) 2009, slgckgc - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975, and became a longtime broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets after he retired from baseball in 1955. He was famously tutored by fellow Hall-of-Famer, first baseman Hank Greenberg, while Greenberg was playing for the Pirates at the very end of his career. Greenberg would give Kiner hours of instruction, and the left center field gardens at Forbes Field, which were originally nicknamed Greenberg's Gardens, became Kiner's Korner. He would eventually have his No. 4 jersey retired by the team.

Born in Santa Rita, NM in 1922, Kiner would serve as a Navy pilot in the Second World War.

Tags: Baseball, MLB, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Pirates, Ralph Kiner

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