Pittsburgh Pirates: Impressive Rookie Seasons in Franchise History

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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MANHATTAN, NY – 1950’s: Outfielder Ralph Kiner #4 of the Pittsburgh Pirates, poses for a portrait prior to a 1950’s game against the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds in New York. Kiner played for the Pirates from 1946-1953. (Photo by Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NY – 1950’s: Outfielder Ralph Kiner #4 of the Pittsburgh Pirates, poses for a portrait prior to a 1950’s game against the New York Giants at the Polo Grounds in New York. Kiner played for the Pirates from 1946-1953. (Photo by Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images) /

Ralph Kiner

In 1946 Ralph Kiner donned an MLB baseball jersey for the first time, and it so happened to be with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Just a year after World War II, Kiner would start something that didn’t end until his last year in the Majors in 1955. What was that? Hit 20+ home runs every year.

As a rookie, Kiner hit 23 home runs for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was not just his homers that were impressive for Kiner. It was the entire package he brought.

In his rookie campaign, he hit for a .247/.345/.430 slash line. If you’re into advanced stats, I got you covered. His wOBA was an impressive .366, and even more impressive was his wRC+ or 116, which is 16 points above average. The National Leagues’s original home run king surely started crafting his crown as soon as he entered into the Majors that year.

1946 was truly just the start for Kiner who went on to slug 369 home runs in his 11 year MLB career. He was a six-time National League All-Star with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.

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