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He was the second-oldest living Hall of Fame player, after Bobby Doerr. Red Schoendienst is now second.
Ralph didn’t see Rube pitch for the Giants that year. Even Ralph has his limits. But Ralph mentioned without pretension that he had met Rube — who was born in 1886, recorded 201 victories between 1908 and 1925, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971 and lived until 1980 — at an Old Timers Day and its attendant festivities somewhere along the way. Rube Marquard of the 1912 National League champion New York Giants was quite the dancer, Ralph informed us............
This is sad news, but 91 is a pretty badass age to live to. We should all be so lucky.
Hope he and Gary Cooper are talking baseball in Heaven.
Kiner is still the only player in history to lead his league in HRs his first 7 years in the majors.
Also had some other unusual patterns - hit with much more power against RHP despite being a righty, but had much higher OBA vs. LHP, mainly due to walking much more against lefties
Misirlou: Mark McGwire led as a rookie, but I guess you're being literal when you say "first year in the majors"?
There's no good way to search on P-I for players who were still considered rookies in their 2nd or 3rd year (like ARod.).
The problem is there's no way to search P-I for guys who led the league in home runs.
but Sean's recently added a feature that does exactly what you're describing. It's a checkbox in the lower left-hand corner of the main P-I season finder.
He was the second-oldest living Hall of Fame player, after Bobby Doerr.
I confidant no one besides Kiner lead their league in HR their very first year (HR more than 10 anyway. I'm not particularly interested in a guy leading the 1878 NL with 4 or whatever).
I realize the contempt for Tim McCarver here, but (as many have said, including me) he was very, very good when he started out as a Mets announcer. And one of the most valuable things he did was to engage Kiner in dialog about baseball. It turns out Kiner was very knowledgeable, but after 20 odd years (very odd) with Lindsey Nelson and Bob Murphy, he was just mailing it in. Can't blame him.
Anyway, McCarver would start up discussions of in-game and defensive positioning and pitch-by-pitch strategy and Kiner was very informative in response
So please forgive me if I think Ralph, who was an absolute joy to listen to on both the radio and TV in the 70s and on TV in the 70s, 80s, and much of the 90s, should have lived another eight or nine years.
Mention of Mike Schmidt above makes me think of one of Ralph Kiner's verbal habits: he would always call Schmidt "Smitt": I suspect because the risk of calling him "Schit" was too great if he began with the /?/.
My mother-in-law can't say "shrimp" - she pronounces it "srimp".
When you're young, the words of an adult announcer are authoritative and interesting. As one ages you ask more questions, wonder about the motivations for statements.
Ralph went out with Elizabeth Taylor before her first marriage, and also dated Janet Leigh. (Richie Ashburn later told Jamie Lee Curtis, "I had a big crush on your mom, too, but I was only a singles hitter.")
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