Do You Know Who This Guy Is?

June 21, 2013 • 509 views

On this date in 1953 in the first game of a double header at Wrigley Field, 18,726 people came to see the Chicago Cubs defeat the Brooklyn Dodgers 11-8.

With one out in the bottom of the 6th Ralph Kiner (Alhambra alum Class of 1940) hit a three-run blast off Dodger reliever Joe Black to provide the Cubs with the margin of victory.

Kiner had joined the Cubs just two weeks before after being the key piece in a 10-player trade that sent him from Pittsburgh to the Windy City. Up to this point Kiner had been a fixture in the Pirates outfield, but salary disputes with then Pittsburgh General Manager Branch Rickey.

“We finished in last place with you,” Rickey said. “We can finish last without you.”

The Alhambra product played in the big leagues for 10 seasons and was its dominant right handed power hitter. Kiner earned six all-star appearances, he was a seven time National League home run champion, led the circuit with 127 Rbis in 1949, the Pirates retired his uniform number “4″, and he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1975.

His career batting average was .279, he hit 369 home runs, and drove in 1,105 runs. Injuries shortened his career, as he finished the 1955 season with the Cleveland Indians before being released.

Besides baseball Kiner flew anti-submarine aircraft missions over the Pacific during World War II, and in 1962 became part of the original broadcast team of the New York Mets. He still is affilated with Mets broadcasts on a limited basis.

Born in New Mexico in 1922, Kiner moved with his family to Alhambra when he was four. He attended the 1932 Olympics with his mother, and among his classmates at Alhambra were Tex Schramm to General Manager who put together the powerful Dallas Cowboys teams of the 1960’s and 70’s. And Dorothy Rodham, mother of former United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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