In his rookie season, Ralph Kiner hit more homers than any other National League player. It was no fluke.
In each of his first 7 big league seasons Kiner led the Senior Curicuit in long balls. Six of those seasons he led all of baseball.
Though he didn’t come up with it, one of the most famous quotes attributed to Kiner was, “Home run hitters drive Cadillacs and singles hitters drive Fords.”
His finest season came in 1949 when he posted career bests in homers (54), RBI (127), batting average (.310), and slugging percentage (.658). His 4th-place finish in MVP voting was the highest of the 7 seasons in which he received votes.
After leading the NL in homers his 7th and final time in 1952, Kiner was traded the next year on June 4, 1953. The ten-player deal included Pirates teammate Joe Garagiola. Kiner’s 35 homers that season placed 5th in the league while his 116 RBI put him 6th-best.
Kiner’s production slowed after that and a bad back forced him into retirement in 1955 at age 32. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975.
In the collection is an MLB Publicity Bureau questionnaire filled out entirely in Kiner’s hand and dated 16 days after his big league debut. No one could have predicted the greatness ahead for the slugger.