Palm Desert, CA
The Cubs and Indians have waited a combined 176 years for a championship. That’s the longest combined drought of any World Series in history.
So what to do if your father, an MLB Hall-of-Famer, played for both franchises? That’s the quandary local man, Scott Kiner finds himself in.
In addition to Bryan Shaw, the relief pitcher for the Indians, who played for the Palm Springs Power in 2006, there’s another local connection to this Game 7 drama in the World Series.
One of the great power hitters in baseball history, the first man to lead the league in home runs for seven straight years, a baseball Hall-of-Famer and former local man, Ralph Kiner, who passed away in 2014 due to natural causes at the age of 91, played for both the Indians and Cubs in the early ’50’s.
In 1953, he was traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Chicago Cubs early in the season. Had he been with the Cubs all year, he was on pace to hit 38 home runs, which would have been tied with the team leader, Kris Bryant this year.
Kiner was then traded to the Indians for the 1955 season, a year the team was very good, but failed to make the post season by one game.
After the 1955 season, he retired from playing and shortly became a Hall of Fame broadcaster.
KMIR caught up with his son, Scott Kiner, a local business man, to learn more about this interesting connection and who Kiner might be rooting for tonight.
"Yes, I kind of have mixed emotions about tonight’s game," Kiner says when asked which team he’s rooting for.
"He had a good time in Chicago, he loved hitting home runs over the wall into Waveland Street…. and then the Cubs traded him to the Indians and that was his best shot at making the playoffs."
After his playing days, Kiner also spent time as a manager in the Indians minor league system, then launched a successful, Hall-of-Fame broadcasting career, and with so much history on the line and such iconic franchises battling this late in the season, how would the former word smith define this moment?
"I question myself, what he would be thinking about right now," Kiner says. "Because he was with both franchises… the history is astonishing and he had a piece of that in his blood…"
But as far as the final outcome? "I don’t have a clue what team he’s rooting for tonight…"