here) but I posted that ball on another failed blog. Anyway, with Kiner being one of the oldest living Hall of Famers, I had been wanting to meet him for a while. I had a chance last year at the National Card Show, but Kiner cancelled at the last minute. At almost 91 years of age, I was really lucky he was able to make the trip to Cooperstown.
That being said, I was EXCITED to get to meet Kiner. When he signed the ball for Chris, I could see why the line was taking so long. Kiner labored through signing his name, taking about a minute or two to get his name on the ball. I really respected the effort he put forth to sit there and sign for fans at his age. He could have easily stayed home, but he made the trip and signed for all the folks who paid admission.
Kiner (b. 1922) played in the majors from 1946 to 1955 for the Pirates, Cubs and Indians. He retired after only 10 seasons in the majors with 1,451 hits, 369 home runs and a career .279 batting average. In his brief career, he led the league in home runs 7 times (the first 7 years of his career). He hit 35 or more home runs 7 times and hit more than 20 in 9 of the 10 years he played. The most he hit in a season was 54 in 1949. That year he finished 4th in the NL MVP voting (the best of his career) and was a 6-time All Star. Kiner never appeared in a postseason.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1975 (his 13th ballot) when he was named on 75.41% of the ballot. His voting percentage is third from the bottom all-time, better than only Fergie Jenkins (75.40%) and Al Simmons (75.38%). His election in 1975 was very controversial, but over time, many have accepted the fact that albeit he had a short career, he is still a Hall of Famer.