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Card’s Pujols, Phil’s Howard erase legend Kiner from record books.

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This past week wasn’t a good one for Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner’s legacy.

In the course of one week, two records set by the former Pirates/Cubs/Indian’s slugger were surpassed, making him more a footnote than a standard bearer.

First, Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard became the fastest to 200 home runs, accomplishing the feat in 658 games compared to Kiner’s long-standing 706 games. And last night, the Cardinal’s Albert Pujols padded his already-superb resume by toppling Kiner’s prodigious mark for home runs spanning the first nine seasons of a career, clubbing numbers 352 and 353.

Howard: quickest to 200 home runs.Pujols: most productive through nine seasons.

And while his records may be gone, Kiner will never be forgotten.

Dad, do you have this card?Kiner’s Baseball-Reference page is peppered with bold marks- a litany of single season records that are a testament to Kiner’s dominance during his injury shortened ten-year career. From 1946 to 1952, no one in the National League hit more home runs than Kiner; of his nine years in the senior circuit, Kiner led the league in home runs seven times. He hit 50 home runs twice; 51 in his sophomore season and 54 during his Most Valuable Player campaign in 1949. And speaking of MVP campaigns, Kiner had seven of those too, his best finish coming during that 1949 season when he finished fourth. Kiner’s best seasons were as a Pirate and from 1946-53 he appeared in the All-Star game donning that uniform each time.

Kiner spent part of 1953 and all of the 1954 season with the Chicago Cubs before being dealt to the Cleveland Indians, where a back injury promptly ended his playing career in 1955. He was 32-years-old.

In 1961, Kiner started broadcasting with the Chicago White Sox. The following year, he began announcing for the expansion New York Mets.

In 1975, Kiner was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his 13th and final vote. He received one more vote than needed for election. In 1984, Kiner was elected to the New York Mets Hall of Fame for his illustrious broadcast career. In 1987, the Pirates retired Kiner’s #4.

There are few players that I wish I could travel back in time to see. And on that list, there’s no Jackie Robinson, no Willie Mays, and no Joe DiMaggio.

There is, however, Ralph Kiner.

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