The Legend

The Legend

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Forgotten Pirate

Ralph Kiner is often the forgotten man in Pirates history.  After an up and down rookie season in 1946 Kiner received some guidance from legendary slugger Hank Greenberg whom the Pirates convinced to stay on one more season.  With this knowledge Kiner blossomed into the games most feared slugger.

The sad aspect of Kiner's career is that he never played for a winner.  In fact most of the Pirates teams he played on were the worst in franchise history.  It was said fans would leave Forbes Field once Kiner had taken his final at bat as the rest of the team was not worth watching.

A fun footnote to Kiners career is that during a contract dispute with then GM Branch Rickey, Rickey told Kiner "we finished last with you, we can finish last without you."  Kiner was then traded to the Cubs, but injuries slowed down his career and was out of baseball by the age of 32. 

Kiner's offensive peak was so strong that he still was elected to the hall of fame in 1975. Take a look at the numbers.

The scan is a little shaky in this card as the silver causes a nasty glare.  This is a triple auto from 2005 Donruss Signature featuring Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson and Ralph Kiner.  Kiner autos are very affordable as he has had a long career in baseball after retirement as an announcer for the Mets since their inception.  This has allowed him to be an active signer and is featured in many sets the past 10-15 years. 


  1. This ended up being a timely post about Kiner, given the news about his passing. It's too bad that playing for such horrible teams keeps him from being talked about more to this day. He had a relatively short peak, but nearly 400 home runs in just 10 seasons is pretty impressive. RIP Ralph.

  2. The guy really is an interesting story. He was fun to read about.