This is probably old news for many of you but it was new to me when I heard about it this morning while watching Olympic coverage.
Kiner doesn't get mentioned all too often in the circle of great power hitters. Sure you hear about the Babe, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, and others but Kiner did what none of them could. From 1946-1952, he hit 100 more home runs than any other player in baseball. He averaged 44 homers and 115 RBIs in each of those seasons. In 10 MLB seasons, he led the league in home runs his first seven (six of those leading all of baseball). If it wasn't for some difficult back problems and a lingering injury, who knows what kind of career Ralph would have had. His 369 career home runs could have been double that or more.
After his playing career, he took a job with the upstart New York Mets organization in their announcing booth and stayed there till the end.
His personality, wit, and charm will be missed by Mets and Pirates fans alike. But just like with the passing of other legends, his legacy and impact on baseball should be shared with future generations to come.
I thought I would share a few of my favorite Kiner cards in my collection. RIP, HOFer Ralph Kiner.