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Whenitwasagame.net themes and content are dedicated to the remembrance, celebration and preservation of our baseball heritage.
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Unnatural
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threatens
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We the fans, the true “owners” of baseball, must hold the commissioner, the team owners, the players and their union accountable.
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Power surge
The '50s was the decade of power and the numbers put up by the untainted athletes were impressive.
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INSIDE:

CLUBHOUSE
CRONICLES

Jimmy Palermo, during a historic 7-day span in May, 1939, saw the meteoric rise of Williams and tragic decline of Gehrig.

THE GAME'S
GOLDEN ERA

An exclusive WIWAG ongoing feature.


MEMORIES
The field seemed vast to a 7-year old who had looked forward to this day for two months.

BREAKING THE COLOR LINE
The year marks the 60th anniversary of the first major league tryout for black players.

SPECIAL COLOR
LINE TIMELINE

Bud Fowler is the first know black players on an integrated team.

BOOMING BATS
of the '50s

Qualify as Grade A10.


AMERICA'S ORIGINAL
SPORTS BAR
First sports bar featured 12-inch Farnsworth TV.

BASEBALL
HISTORIANS

Two unsuspecting vintage baseball fans rediscover a "National Treasure."
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THIS IS a rare Ralph Kiner Adirondack (model 165A) with his last name block stamped on the barrel.




















HALL OF FAME outfielder Ralph Kiner used this bat in a Cubs-Cardinals series in September of 1954. In this series, he drove a low liner into the left field bleachers just inside the foul pole for his 21st circuit-clout of the season - and 350th of his career.

RALPH KINER, a six-time all-star and Hall of Famer, finished the 1954 season with a respectable 22 home runs, 73 RBIs and an average of .285. Nevertheless, he was traded to Cleveland in 1955 and retired shortly after that season.

RALPH KINER

HALL OF FAME: 1975

ALL-STAR: 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1953

Kiner won seven straight home run titles: 1946—1952

Powerful right handed slugger had a ratio of homers to at-bats exceeded only by Babe Ruth in Major League history

HALL OF FAMER

WHEN KINER won the 1946 home run title he was the Pirates' first champion since 1906.
RALPH KINER WEB LINKS

A powerful right-handed hitter, Ralph Kiner won seven straight home run titles before he turned 30 years old. Kiner was baseball's greatest home run hitter during the years immediately after World War II. His ratio of homers to at-bats was at the time exceeded only by Babe Ruth. Unfortunately, a back condition forced him to retire at the age of 33, but his amazing home run pace helped Kiner earn a spot in the Hall of Fame in 1975

Kiner began his Major League career on April 16, 1946 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played for 10 seasons for the Pirates, Cubs and Indians — and ended his big league playing career in 1955.

Signed by the Pirates for an $8,000 bonus, Kiner hit 27 home runs in two minor league seasons before the war. Following military service (1943-45), he became Pittsburgh's starting left fielder in 1946. Despite starting slowly, he hit 23 homers to tie the club record and lead the National League.

Kiner was the Pirates' first home run champion since 1906, and home attendance rose to its highest level since the pennant year of 1927 even though the team tumbled to seventh place.

PLAYING IN ONLY 10 seasons, Kiner had a .279 lifetime average, 1,451 hits, 369 HRs and 1,015 RBIs.


In 1947, the Pirates obtained Hank Greenberg, the 1946 American League home run champ, and tailored Forbes Field to the two right handed power hitters. A double bullpen, 30 feet wide by 200 feet long, significantly cut the distances in left field. "Greenberg Gardens" (later "Kiner's Korner") reduced the left-field line from 365 to 335 feet and the left-center power alley from 406 to 355 feet.

The two sluggers became roommates and Kiner credited Greenberg with his continued success. Greenberg managed only 25 homers in his final season, but Kiner blasted 51 to tie Johnny Mize for the league lead. Finishing strong, he set a Major League record with eight homers in four games from September 10 to 12. His batting average jumped to a career-high .313 and he led the National league with a slugging percentage of .639.

In 1948, Kiner again tied Mize for the National League homer championship, hitting 40. The following year, a stretch drive of 16 September homers brought him to 54, only two shy of Hack Wilson's National League record. He also became the first player to hit 50 homers twice in the National League. His 47 home runs in 1950 established a league record of 102 in two consecutive seasons, and he was named The Sporting News Player of the Year.

Kiner led the National League in home runs in 1951 and 1952 to run his streak to seven consecutive titles, but the Pirates around him were in shambles. His back problems were also beginning to plague him. On June 3, 1953 he was traded to the Cubs in a famous "we finished last with you, we can finish last without you" deal.

RALPH KINER was baseball's greatest home run hitter during the years immediately after World War II.


In Chicago, Kiner teamed in the outfield with the equally powerful Hank Sauer, with whom he had shared the National League home run title the year before. Before the 1955 season, Cleveland General Manager Greenberg acquired him for the Indians. He hit 18 homers for the Tribe in his final season. Only 33 years old when his bad back ended his career, Kiner retired having hit a home run in every 14.1 at-bats.


Playing only 10 seasons, he had a .279 lifetime average, 1,451 hits, 369 home runs and 1,015 RBIs. He was an all-star outfielder six times from 1948-53, and hit a home run in three consecutive all-star games (1949, 50 and 51).

Kiner was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975 with 75 percent of the vote.

RALPH KINER: Did you know...

...Kiner, like Del Ennis, soaked his bats in oil, burned resin into them and polished them to make them as hard as steel.

...Kiner was an Ensign flier in the Navy Air Corps, serving overseas in the Pacific theatre during World War II.

...Kiner was the first $100,000 player in the National League.

...Kiner, from September 10-12, 1947, hit eight homers in four games, setting a major league record.

 

...Kiner was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates in June 1953 with Joe Garagiola, Catfish Metkovich, and Howie Pollet to the Chicago Cubs for Toby Atwell, Bob Schultz, Preston Ward, George Freese, Bob Addis, Gene Hermanski, and $150,000 cash.

...Kiner was sent by the Chicago Cubs in Nov. 1954 to the Cleveland Indians to complete an earlier deal made on September 30, 1954. The Chicago Cubs sent a player to be named later to the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later, Sam Jones, and $60,000 cash. The Chicago Cubs sent Ralph Kiner (November 16, 1954) to the Cleveland Indians to complete the trade. The Cleveland Indians sent Gale Wade (November 30, 1954) to the Chicago Cubs to complete the trade.

...Kiner, after his retirement as a player, served briefly as GM of the San Diego Padres in the Pacific Coast League.

...Kiner, since 1962, has done play-by-play for the Mets.

...Kiner was born October 27, 1922 in Santa Rita, New Mexico.

PIRATE SLUGGER Ralph Kiner, and Ted Kluszewski, Cincinnati first baseman, compare their Booming Bats of the '50s in this photo taken on opening day of the 1951 National League season.

HALL OF FAMER RALPH KINER played for 10 seasons for the Pirates, Cubs and Indians — and ended his big league playing career in 1955.

KINER hit a home run in three consecutive all-star games.

RALPH KINER, right, and catcher Joe Garogiola, were shipped from the Pirates to the Cubs in a blockbuster deal in 1953. Pittsburgh received five players and $150,00 in the trade.

RALPH KINER was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975 with 75 percent of the vote.