In Kiner's Korner

Ralph Kiner - Al Bello

Ralph Kiner passed away at the age of 91 on Thursday. More than a broadcaster for the New York Mets, he was one of the greatest power hitters in baseball history.

Whether facing a camera, microphone, a guest on his show Kiner's Korner, or a 95 MPH fastball, Ralph Kiner demonstrated excellence in everything that he did. He passed away on Thursday at the age of 91, leaving behind a Hall of Fame legacy both on the field and in the broadcast booth.

If it wasn't for a back injury that forced his early retirement at the age of 32, we may already know Ralph Kiner as the greatest home run hitter of all-time. Instead, the fact that Kiner was more than a commentator is sometimes forgotten by the modern fan. Incredible, when for an eight year span, he hit home runs with Ruthian dominance.

Ralph Kiner led the league in home runs seven consecutive seasons between 1946-1952. To put that in perspective, Barry Bonds led the league in homers only twice in his career. And what makes Kiner's home run hitting prowess so amazing is how many more he hit than the next most powerful hitter in the league at the time, Stan Musial.

Period Home Run Leader Second Leader % Difference
1946-1953 Ralph Kiner (329) Stan Musial (221) 48.9%
2006-2013 Albert Pujols (291) Miguel Cabrera (287) 1.4%

In modern day terms, if Albert Pujols were to hit 49% more home runs than the next best power hitter, Miguel Cabrera, he would have had to hit 136 additional home runs over the past seven seasons, or nearly 20 more home runs per year.

More than just a power hitter, between 1947-1952, playing at the same time as some of baseball's greatest legends, Kiner was one of the most valuable players in baseball. His fWAR between 1947-1952 was fourth highest, trailing only Stan Musual, Jackie Robinson, and Ted Williams.

# Name Team PA HR RBI wRC+ WAR
1 Stan Musial Cardinals 4091 175 657 171 47.7
2 Jackie Robinson Dodgers 3942 92 501 140 41.6
3 Ted Williams Red Sox 3164 159 626 183 40.5
4 Ralph Kiner Pirates 3978 271 691 160 38.6
5 Pee Wee Reese Dodgers 3991 64 415 110 29.9

*Between 1947-1952

As the name of this baseball site suggests, we attempt to look beyond the box score when evaluating the game of baseball. Ralph Kiner was an all-time great baseball player. But he was also a commentator who found a way to look beyond the traditional ways of broadcasting. He had a unique style, often times mixing up names, jumbling sentences, and offering other idiosyncrasies that this writer has himself. His viewers could relate to him, while also awe at his baseball knowledge.

Ralph Kiner will be remembered by generations of Mets fans for his work as a broadcaster. Baseball fans should remember that he was also one of the greatest ballplayers, too.

. . .

All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.

Jeffrey Bellone is a contributor to Beyond The Box Score and can also be found writing about New York sports at Over the Whitestone. You can follow and interact with him on Twitter @OverWhitestone.

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