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.