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Baseball Legend Ralph Kiner, 91, Dies at Riverside County Home

Hall of Famer and former Mets announcer Ralph Kiner throws waves to the fans prior to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch during the Mets' Home Opener at Citi Field on April 8, 2011.  Photo credit:  Getty
Hall of Famer and former Mets announcer Ralph Kiner throws waves to the fans prior to throwing out the ceremonial first pitch during the Mets' Home Opener at Citi Field on April 8, 2011. Photo credit: Getty

Hall of Fame slugger Ralph Kiner, who belted 369 home runs during a 10-year Major League Baseball career with the Pirates, Cubs and Indians, died Thursday at his home in Rancho Mirage.

According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the 91-year- old Kiner died of natural causes with his family at his side.

"With the passing of Ralph Kiner, the baseball world has lost one of its greatest ambassadors and the Hall of Fame has lost a wonderful friend," according to Jane Forbes Clark, chair of the Hall of Fame. "Ralph spent eight decades as a player, executive and broadcaster. He was a man who truly loved on national pastime and made it better in every way. His legacy will live forever in Cooperstown."

Kiner, who was born in New Mexico but raised in Southern California, was signed by the Pirates in 1941, but his minor-league career was interrupted by World War II, during which he served as a Navy pilot. He returned to join the Pirates' big-league squad in 1946.

He hit 51 home runs in 1947 and 54 in 1949. During his career, he belted a home run every 14.1 times he stepped to the plate, the sixth-best ratio of all time.

He was a career .279 hitter, collecting 1,451 hits and 1,015 RBIs. He walked 100 or more times in six seasons.

After his playing career, he became a broadcaster, calling New York Mets games for 52 seasons, beginning in 1962.

"As one of baseball's most prolific power hitters for a decade, Ralph struck fear into the hearts of the best pitchers of baseball's golden era, despite his easy-going nature, disarming humility and movie-star smile," said Jeff Idelson, president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "His engaging personality and profound knowledge of the game turned him into a living room companion for millions of New York Mets fans who adored his game broadcasts and later 'Kiner's Korner' for more than half a century.

"He was as comfortable hanging out in Palm Springs with his friend Bob Hope as he was hitting in front of Hank Greenberg at Forbes Field," he said.


– City News Service.

Joseph Morabito February 07, 2014 at 11:44 AM
As a baseball fan, I knew of Kiner's feats. He lead the league in HRs seven years in a row. I think I heard a few broadcasts of his when I was in my early teens... I think it was him that was doing the NLCS when it was the Dodgers and Phillies (I recorded it on tape... I bet that thing doesn't work anymore). ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Still, as nice as it is to see this story... it's been on the front page of the Patch for two days now and it isn't even a local story. Safe to say that whatever reach Patch had as a local news source has seen better days... and that's no slight at Renee Schiavone. I imagine she's just playing the cards that were dealt to her.
Jeff Kleiner February 07, 2014 at 01:51 PM
Ralph Kiner was also a great broadcaster. I enjoyed his voice many times. Any athlete leading the league in Home runs for seven years is very impressive and dominate......Ralph will be missed all over baseball.

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