Sunday, April 26, 2009

#56 Ron Kline

#56 Ron Kline
It's time for a stream-of-consciousness reaction to Ron Kline's card photo:

-Very short sleeves.
-Odd-length undersleeves.
-Hairy forearms.
-Wilson glove.
-Engineer's hat.

Fun facts about Ron Kline:

-Signed as an amateur free agent by the Pirates in 1950.

-Known for a strange ritual in which he'd touch his cap, belt, and shirt in succession before each pitch.

-At age 20, went 0-7 to start his career in 1952 and then missed the next two seasons for military service.

-Lost his first two decisions in 1955 before finally getting his first career win by shutting out the Cardinals. Unfortunately, winning wasn't contagious; he had a losing record (with double-digit L's) in each of the next five seasons. Ron led the N.L. in losses in 1956 and 1958 despite pitching well (3.38 and 3.53 ERAs, respectively).

-Served up the first of Willie McCovey's 521 career home runs.

-The Cardinals moved him to the bullpen in 1960, but he didn't really take off until joining the Senators in 1963. From 1963-1966, he posted ERAs between 2.32 and 2.79 and double-digit saves in each year. Peaked with a league-leading (and team record) 29 saves in 1965.

-Also had his first winning record (10-7) in 1963, the first of five such seasons in a row. This run culminated with a return to Pittsburgh, where he went 12-5 with 10 straight victories and a 1.68 ERA in 1968.

-An added benefit of his conversion to relief work was less at-bats. Kline hit just .092 with 3 extra-base hits in 491 at-bats in his career. Still, he was 3-for-7 with an RBI against Lew Burdette - go figure!

-Ended his 17-season career with the Braves in 1970, having won 114 games against 144 losses, 108 saves, and a 3.75 ERA.

-Afterward, he served as mayor of Callery, PA (pop. 444), his hometown. He passed away in 2002 at age 70 after struggling with kidney and heart ailments.
#56 Ron Kline (back)

No comments:

Post a Comment