Chicago Cubs: A massive trade brought a Pirates legend to the North Side
Ralph Kiner was one of the National League’s finest players in the late-40s and early-50s. He spent his first eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he was a six-time All-Star. Kiner was the MLB leader in home runs six-consecutive years from 1948-1952, and nearly won the Triple Crown in 1951 with his average being the only stat that fell short on the leaderboard.
In 1953 a big trade was pulled off between the Pirates and Cubs that went as follows:
Pirates trade Kiner, Joe Garagiola, George Metkovich and Howie Pollet to the Cubs for Bob Addis, Toby Atwell, George Freese, Gene Hermanski, Bob Schultz, Preston Ward and $150,000.
Apparently, this trade was done because of disputes over money between Kiner and Pirates GM Branch Rickey. As a Cub he played in 264 games from 1953-1954. He hit .284/.381/.505 with 50 home runs and a .886 OPS. Kiner did pretty well with the Cubs, unfortunately, the team finished nowhere near a pennant. Twenty-eight of his 50 home runs as a Cub came in 117 games in 1953, showing the fans immediately that he brought the power from the Steel City.
In November 1954, Kiner was traded to the Cleveland Indians which would result in the Cubs getting pitcher Sam Jones. Kiner’s MLB playing career was over after his one year in Cleveland. He finished with 369 home runs in just ten seasons while hitting .279/.398/.548. His #4 is retired in Pittsburgh and he became a Mets broadcast legend.