Ralph McPherran Kiner (October 27, 1922 – February 6, 2014) was an American Major League Baseball player. An outfielder, Kiner played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, and Cleveland Indians from 1946 through 1955. Following his retirement, Kiner served from 1956 through 1960 as general manager of the Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres. He also served as an announcer for the New York Mets from the team's inception until his death. Though injuries forced his retirement from active play after 10 seasons, Kiner's tremendous slugging outpaced all of his National League contemporaries between the years 1946 and 1952. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.
At the time of his death, baseball writer Marty Noble named Kiner "one of baseball's genuine and most charming gentlemen".
Kiner c. 1953
|Born: October 27, 1922|
Santa Rita, New Mexico
|Died: February 6, 2014 (aged 91)|
Rancho Mirage, California
|April 12, 1946, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 25, 1955, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Runs batted in||1,015|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Vote||75.41% (13th ballot)|
Kiner was born in Santa Rita, New Mexico, and raised in Alhambra, California. He was of Pennsylvania Dutch (German) and Scots-Irish ancestry, although his maternal grandmother was Jewish. Kiner served as a U.S. Navy pilot during World War II.
Kiner made his major league debut on April 12, 1946, with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He finished the season with 23 home runs, but 109 strikeouts. After the season, the Pirates convinced future Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg not to retire. Greenberg gave Kiner hours of instruction, and in 1947, Kiner led the major leagues with 51 home runs while striking out fewer than 100 times. Many of Kiner's homers were hit into a shortened left-field and left-center-field porch at Forbes Field (originally built for Greenberg and known in the press as "Greenberg Gardens"); the porch was retained for Kiner and redubbed "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 topped his 1947 total with 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. It made Kiner the first National League player with two 50 plus home run seasons. Kiner also matched his peak of 127 RBIs. From 1947 to 1951, Kiner topped 40 home runs and 100 RBIs each season. Through 2011 he was one of seven major leaguers to have had at least four 30-HR, 100-RBI seasons in their first five years, along with Chuck Klein, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Mark Teixeira, Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard and Ryan Braun.
Kiner's string of seasons leading the league in home runs reached seven in 1952, when he hit 37. This also was the last of a record six consecutive seasons in which he led Major League Baseball in home runs, all under the guidance of manager Billy Meyer and Pirate great Honus Wagner. He was selected to participate in the All-Star Game in six straight seasons, 1948 to 1953.
The equally famous "Home run hitters drive Cadillacs and singles hitters drive Fords," frequently misattributed to Kiner himself, was, by his own account, actually coined by teammate Fritz Ostermueller. Footage of Kiner hitting a home run in Forbes Field can be seen in the 1951 film Angels in the Outfield.
On June 4, 1953, Kiner was sent to the Chicago Cubs as part of a ten-player trade. The Pirates traded Kiner, Joe Garagiola, George Metkovich, and Howie Pollet to the Cubs in exchange for Bob Addis, Toby Atwell, George Freese, Gene Hermanski, Bob Schultz, Preston Ward, and $150,000. This was largely due to continued salary disputes with Pirate general manager Branch Rickey, who reportedly told Kiner, "We finished last with you, we can finish last without you."
Kiner played the rest of 1953 and all of 1954 with the Cubs, finishing his career with the Cleveland Indians in 1955. A back injury forced him to retire at the age of 32, finishing his career with 369 home runs, 1015 runs batted in and a .279 lifetime batting average. He hit better than .300 three times, with a career best .313 with the Pirates in 1947.
|Ralph Kiner was honored alongside the retired numbers of the New York Mets in 2014.|
In 1961, Kiner entered the broadcast booth for the Chicago White Sox. The following year, Kiner, Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy began broadcasting the games of the expansion New York Mets on WOR-TV in New York City. The trio rotated announcing duties. Kiner also hosted a post-game show known as "Kiner's Korner" on WOR-TV. Nationally, he helped call the Mets' appearance in the 1969 and 1973 World Series for NBC Radio. He won a local Emmy Award for his broadcasting work.
Kiner was known for his occasional malapropisms, usually connected with getting people's names wrong, such as calling broadcasting partner Tim McCarver as "Tim MacArthur" and calling Gary Carter "Gary Cooper". He even once called himself "Ralph Korner".
Despite a bout with Bell's palsy, which left him with slightly slurred speech, Kiner continued broadcasting for 53 seasons. Kiner's tenure with the Mets was the third-longest for an active broadcaster with a single team as of his final season. He is the third longest-tenured broadcaster in baseball history, trailing only Los Angeles Dodgers announcers Vin Scully (1950–2016) and Jaime Jarrín (1959–present). His traditional home run call—"It is gone, goodbye," was a signature phrase in baseball.
Kiner appeared occasionally on SportsNet New York (SNY) and WPIX, which currently televise Mets games. During these visits (usually once a week), regular announcers Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling made room for Kiner as he shared stories of old-time baseball, as well as the current state of the game. During his final season (2013), he was the oldest active announcer in Major League Baseball.
Partly owing, as Kiner once said, to the fact that Hollywood megastar Bing Crosby was part-owner of the Pirates, Kiner was often closely linked with the likes of celebrities such as Crosby's colleague Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra, but even more to publicized romances, dates or just splashy photos with leading ladies, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner and Janet Leigh.
In his 80s Kiner married, then divorced, Ann Benisch.
Ralph Kiner died from natural causes in Rancho Mirage, California on February 6, 2014 at the age of 91. His family was at his side at the time of his death. Upon his death, New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon stated "Ralph Kiner was one of the most beloved people in Mets history—An original Met and extraordinary gentleman." At the time of his death, Kiner was battling Bell's palsy, and the effects of a stroke he had suffered a decade ago that forced him to cut his schedule to a handful of games a season.
On February 21, 2014, an online Twitter petition was started to rename Citi Field Sections 132–134 as Kiner's Korner, to commemorate the 52-year Mets career of Ralph Kiner. As of March 29, 2014, the petition had over 5000 followers.
Kiner is survived by ex-wife, Ann Benisch (after their marriage ended in divorce), and also by sons Ralph and Scott; daughters, Kathryn Chaffee Freeman, Tracee Kiner Jansen and Kimberlee Kiner; and 12 grandchildren.
|Ralph Kiner's number 4 was retired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1987.|
Kiner was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975. Kiner had garnered 273 votes by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, one more than the minimum required for election. It was in his final year of eligibility (his 13th, as no vote was held in 1963 and 1965), and it was the closest call possible for any player elected by the BBWAA. (He would have had a chance later with the Veteran's Committee had he not been elected by the BBWAA). Kiner was also the only player voted in that year. He attended every Hall of Fame ceremony from the time he was inducted, until his death.
The Pittsburgh Pirates retired his uniform number 4 on September 19, 1987.
The Sporting News placed him at number 90 on its 1999 list of "The 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and he was one of the 100 finalists for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team that year. The Mets honored him with an on-field ceremony on "Ralph Kiner Night" at Shea Stadium on Saturday, July 14, 2007. On that night, fans were given photos of Kiner. Tom Seaver was present, giving a commemorative speech recalling Kiner's legacy. Other guests of note were Yogi Berra, Bob Feller, and broadcaster Ernie Harwell. As a present from the Mets, Kiner received a cruise of his choice.
| Hitting for the cycle
June 25, 1950
Roy Smalley Jr.
The 1949 Major League Baseball season.1950 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1950 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 17th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 11, 1950, at Comiskey Park in Chicago the home of the Chicago White Sox of the American League. The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 4–3 in 14 innings. It was the first All-Star game to go into extra innings.1951 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1951 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 18th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 10, 1951, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan the home of the Detroit Tigers of the American League. The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 8–3.1953 Chicago Cubs season
The 1953 Chicago Cubs season was the 82nd season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 78th in the National League and the 38th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished seventh in the National League with a record of 65–89.1975 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1975 followed the system in place since 1971.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and
elected Ralph Kiner.
The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.
It selected three people: Earl Averill, Bucky Harris, and Billy Herman.
The Negro Leagues Committee also met in person and selected Judy Johnson.Albany Senators
The Albany Senators was a name used by multiple minor league baseball teams representing Albany, New York, that existed between 1885 and 1959. The mid-20th century club played at Hawkins Stadium.The various editions of the Senators generally played in higher-classification leagues such as the New York State League, the Eastern League that played between 1916 and 1932, the International League, the 1923–37 New York–Pennsylvania League, and the modern Eastern League, in which it played 22 consecutive seasons, 1938–59, before the team disbanded. An early Senators team also played in "outlaw" minor leagues such as the Hudson River League during the 19th century in between stints in "organized baseball."
The Senators won six league championships over their organized baseball history, the last in 1954. The club was a powerhouse during the 1940s as a Class A farm team of the Pittsburgh Pirates, posting winning records between 1942–48, making the Eastern League playoffs six times, leading in attendance five times, and taking the 1945 EL championship. Among the Pittsburgh farmhands who played for the club was Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, in 1941–42.Over the years, different Senators teams also were affiliated with MLB clubs such as the New York Yankees, Washington Senators, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Athletics. The last-place 1959 Senators — the latest in a succession of poor clubs — drew only 45,000 fans for the season and Albany was dropped from the Eastern League when it contracted from eight to six teams for 1960. Professional baseball and the EL would not return to New York's state capital until 1983, when the West Haven A's moved to the area as the Albany-Colonie A's (now the Richmond Flying Squirrels). The current pro baseball team in the Albany area is the Tri-City ValleyCats of the Class A (short season) New York–Penn League.
Today, there is only one Senators successor franchise that still exists from its International League incarnation. The IL Senators became the Jersey City Giants in 1937, and after subsequent shifts to Ottawa, Ontario, Columbus, Ohio, Charleston, West Virginia, and Old Orchard Beach, Maine, the franchise is now known as the Moosic, Pennsylvania-based Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.Ewell Blackwell
Ewell Blackwell (October 23, 1922 – October 29, 1996) was an American right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. Nicknamed "The Whip" for his sidearm, snap-delivery, Blackwell played for the Cincinnati Reds for most of his career (1942; 1946–1952). He also played with the New York Yankees (1952–1953) and finished his career with the Kansas City Athletics (1955).
The 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m), 195 lb (88 kg) Blackwell is considered to have been one of the greatest pitchers of his era, and starred in a six-year streak in the All-Star Game from 1946 through 1951. He was the winning pitcher of the 1950 All-Star Game, getting Joe DiMaggio to ground into a game-ending double play in the 14th inning.
On June 18, 1947, Blackwell pitched a 6–0 no-hitter against the Boston Braves. In his next start, June 22, against the Brooklyn Dodgers, he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning, trying to tie the achievement of his veteran Reds teammate Johnny Vander Meer from nine years earlier, of throwing consecutive no-hitters. However, the no-hit attempt was broken up by Eddie Stanky. The Reds won the game 4–0.
In a 10-season career, Blackwell posted an 82–78 record with 839 strikeouts and a 3.30 ERA in 1,321 innings pitched. In 1960, he was just the eighth player ever to be inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. During a 2007 New York Mets broadcast, Blackwell was referred to as the best right-handed pitcher ever by Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner. Both Kiner and Hall of Fame catcher Roy Campanella called Blackwell the toughest pitcher they ever faced. Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully also reported that batters were genuinely afraid to face him.
Blackwell's best year was 1947, when he recorded 22 wins against 8 losses, including 16 consecutive complete game victories for a weak-hitting team. At a slender 6 ft 6 inches, he was one of the first very tall pitchers, and a fearsome sight to hitters of that era. His bizarre sidearm delivery, described by a leading sports pundit as "looking like a man falling out of a tree", put unusual strain on his arm, abbreviating his success and, ultimately, his career. Along with arm problems, Blackwell had his right kidney removed in January 1949 after it became infected, and then had an emergency appendectomy in September 1950.In 1948, Ziff-Davis Publishing Company produced "The Secrets of Pitching, By Ewell Blackwell". It is a short book that gives good advice for young pitchers."Frankie Gustine
Frank William Gustine (February 20, 1920 – April 1, 1991) was an American Major League Baseball player who appeared in three All-Star Games during his 12-season (1939–50) MLB career. He spent the bulk of his tenure (1,176 games played) with the Pittsburgh Pirates, though he also played a season for the Chicago Cubs and played the last nine games of his career with the 1950 St. Louis Browns. He also was a coach for the latter two months of that season for the Pirates.
The native of Hoopeston, Illinois, threw and batted right-handed. He stood 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and weighed 175 pounds (79 kg).
Gustine played all positions in the infield, spending most of his time at first and second base. He was selected to the All-Star game in 1946, 1947 and 1948. In 1,261 MLB games played, Gustine collected 1,214 hits, including 222 doubles and 47 triples. His best season was 1947, when he reached career highs in batting average (.297), hits (183), runs scored (102), and runs batted in (67).
His roommate during his career with the Pirates was Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner.Fritz Ostermueller
Frederick Raymond "Fritz" Ostermueller (September 15, 1907 – December 17, 1957) was a pitcher in major league baseball from 1934 to 1948 for the Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Browns, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pittsburgh Pirates. While with Pittsburgh, he coined the famous quote frequently misattributed to teammate Ralph Kiner: "Home run hitters drive Cadillacs; singles hitters drive Fords."Garry Maddox
Garry Lee Maddox (born September 1, 1949), is an American former professional baseball center fielder, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies, from 1972 to 1986. Throughout his baseball career, Maddox was highly regarded for his outstanding defense.Kiner's Korner
Kiner's Korner was a post game interview show following New York Mets home games hosted by Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner. It debuted on April 30, 1963, with guests Buddy Hackett and Phil Foster. The show usually consisted of an interview with the star of the game from the winning team, along with game highlights and scores of other games from that day. Sometimes two players were featured. As years went by and Kiner's workload decreased, the show was on less frequently, usually following home games on free television. Kiner developed a reputation for occasionally incorrectly stating the names of players being interviewed or in highlights.The show's theme music was Flag of Victory Polka, written by Alvino Rey under the name Ira Ironstrings. The show's name came from theclose-in left field seats in Forbes Field where Kiner deposited many home runs during his Hall of Fame career as a Pirate slugger. They were originally known as "Greenberg's Gardens" for Kiner's precursor and mentor Hank Greenberg, but earned their new name after Greenberg's retirement and Kiner's meteoric rise to stardom. It measured 340 feet to left field. The temporary fence was removed in the 1950's to restore it to the original 365 feet.
In 2010, SNY.TV, (website of SportsNet New York, the Mets' cable network), announced the replaying of nine classic episodes of Kiner's Korner on the web, in a series entitled "Kiner's Korner Revisited". While the network was in possession of several episodes, many had been lost or taped over.List of Major League Baseball annual home run leaders
In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit so far that the batter is able to circle all the bases ending at home plate, scoring himself plus any runners already on base, with no errors by the defensive team on the play. An automatic home run is achieved by hitting the ball on the fly over the outfield fence in fair territory. More rarely, an inside-the-park home run occurs when the hitter reaches home plate while the baseball remains in play on the field. In Major League Baseball (MLB), a player in each league wins the home run title each season by hitting the most home runs that year. Only home runs hit in a particular league count towards that league's seasonal lead. Mark McGwire, for example, hit 58 home runs in 1997, more than any other player that year. However, McGwire was traded from the American League's (AL) Oakland Athletics to the National League's (NL) St. Louis Cardinals midway through the season and his individual AL and NL home run totals (34 and 24, respectively) did not qualify to lead either league.The first home run champion in the National League was George Hall. In the league's inaugural 1876 season, Hall hit five home runs for the short-lived National League Philadelphia Athletics. In 1901, the American League was established and Hall of Fame second baseman Nap Lajoie led it with 14 home runs for the American League Philadelphia Athletics. Over the course of his 22-season career, Babe Ruth led the American League in home runs 12 times. Mike Schmidt and Ralph Kiner have the second and third most home run titles respectively, Schmidt with eight and Kiner with seven, all won in the National League. Kiner's seven consecutive titles from 1946 to 1952 are also the most consecutive home run titles by any player.
Ruth set the Major League Baseball single-season home run record four times, first at 29 (1919), then 54 (1920), 59 (1921), and finally 60 (1927). Ruth's 1920 and 1921 seasons are tied for the widest margin of victory for a home run champion as he topped the next highest total by 35 home runs in each season. The single season mark of 60 stood for 34 years until Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961. Maris' mark was broken 37 years later by both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during the 1998 home run record chase, with McGwire ultimately setting the mark at 70. Barry Bonds, who also has the most career home runs, set the current single season record of 73 in 2001. The 1998 and 2001 seasons each had 4 players hit 50 or more home runs – Greg Vaughn, Ken Griffey, Jr., Sosa, and McGwire in 1998 and Alex Rodriguez, Luis Gonzalez, Sosa, and Bonds in 2001. A player has hit 50 or more home runs 42 times, 25 times since 1990. The lowest home run total to lead a major league was four, recorded in the NL by Lip Pike in 1877 and Paul Hines in 1878.List of National League Championship Series broadcasters
The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers that have broadcast National League Championship Series games over the years. It does not include any announcers who may have appeared on local broadcasts produced by the participating teams.List of New York Mets broadcasters
Television: SportsNet New York (SNY) or WPIX channel 11
Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, Steve Gelbs
Radio: WCBS 880 AM (English)
Howie Rose, Wayne Randazzo, Ed Coleman, Brad Heller
Radio: WEPN 1050 AM (Spanish)
Juan Alicea, Max Perez Jimenez, Nestor RosarioList of Pittsburgh Pirates team records
The Pittsburgh Pirates are a professional baseball team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They compete in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's (MLB) National League (NL). Founded in 1882 as Allegheny, the club played in the American Association before moving to the National League in 1887. The list below documents players and teams that hold particular club records.
In 134 seasons from 1882 through 2015, the team has won over 10,000 games and five World Series championships. The team has appeared in 18 postseasons and has won nine league pennants. Roberto Clemente owns the most career batting records with five. Ralph Kiner, Arky Vaughan and Paul Waner each own three single-season batting records. Bob Friend owns the most career pitching records and Ed Morris the most single-season pitching records, both with six.
In their history, the Pittsburgh Pirates have set three Major League Baseball records. In 1912, Chief Wilson hit an MLB-record 36 triples and, on May 30, 1925, the team collectively hit a major league-record eight triples in a single game. In addition, six no-hitters have been thrown in the history of the franchise, with the most recent on July 12, 1997. The Pirates also hold the MLB—and North American professional sports—record for most consecutive losing seasons with 20. The stretch began with the 1993 season and concluded with the 2012 season, at which point the Pirates recorded a winning record and a playoff berth in the 2013 season.Nancy Chaffee
Nancy Chaffee Whittaker (March 6, 1929 – August 11, 2002) was an American female tennis player who was active in the 1950s.
Chaffee won the national girls' 18-and-under title in 1947. She won the U. S. Indoor National Championships, played at the Seventh Regiment Armory in Manhattan, from 1950 through 1952, defeating Althea Gibson, Beverly Baker, and Patricia Canning Todd in the finals. Chaffee reached the singles semifinals of the 1950 U. S. National Championships as an unseeded player but was beaten in three sets by first-seeded and eventual champion Margaret Osborne duPont. She was ranked a career-high World No. 4 at the end of 1951.Her best performance at a Grand Slam tournament was reaching the women's doubles final with Canning Todd at the 1951 U. S. National Championships, where they were defeated in straight sets by Shirley Fry and Doris Hart. At the 1951 Wightman Cup, she won her doubles match as the U. S. defeated Great Britain 6–1.On October 13, 1951, she married baseball star Ralph Kiner with whom she had three children. She was later married to sportscaster Jack Whitaker.
Chaffee later became a sports commentator for ABC, developed tennis programs at resorts, and in 1992 co-founded the Cartier tennis tournament in Long Island's East Hampton, an amateur mixed-doubles fund-raising event to benefit the American Cancer Society. She died on August 11, 2002, from complications of cancer.Putout
In baseball statistics, a putout (denoted by PO or fly out when appropriate) is given to a defensive player who records an out by one of the following methods:
Tagging a runner with the ball when he is not touching a base (a tagout)
Catching a batted or thrown ball and tagging a base to put out a batter or runner (a force out)
Catching a thrown ball and tagging a base to record an out on an appeal play
Catching a third strike (a strikeout)
Catching a batted ball on the fly (a flyout)
Being positioned closest to a runner called out for interferenceSteve Keiner
Steven "Steve" Keiner is an American competitive eater. He was the 1999 winner of the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, downing 20¼ hot dogs in 12 minutes. Keiner is from Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey and like many competitive eaters has used nicknames during contests; one of his nicknames, "Ralph," was given to him by newspaper reporter Gersh Kuntzman, because Kuntzman "gave the eaters nicknames that linked them to sporting heroes past" (possibly inspired by the name of baseball hall-of-famer Ralph Kiner, in this particular case). Kuntzman also provided much of the only media coverage of the controversy surrounding Keiner's title, reporting that video appeared to show that Keiner may have begun eating his hot dogs just before the contest's starting gun was fired. Keiner is also sometimes known on the competitive eating circuit as "The Terminator."
|World Series |
|League pennants (9)|
|Division titles (9)|
|Wild Card berths (3)|
|Negro League Committee|
|J. G. Taylor Spink Award|
Italics denotes players who have been voted in but not yet inducted.
|AL Championship Series|
|NL Championship Series|
|AL Division Series|
|NL Division Series|
|English radio stations|
|Spanish radio stations|