Ellis Kinder

Ellis Kinder

Old Folks
July 26, 1914
195 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-30-1946 with SLA
Allstar Selections:
1949 TSN

Old Folks Kinder didn't pitch in the majors until he was over thirty, but he went on to an occasionally spectacular 12-year career. After two ordinary years with the Browns, he was traded to the Red Sox following the 1947 season. In 1949 he was a sensational starter, going 23-6 with league highs of six shutouts and a .793 winning percentage. With the Red Sox and Yankees tied before the last game of the season, Kinder vowed to win if given three runs. He left after eight innings, trailing 1-0, and New York bombed his relief to take the game 5-4 and win the pennant. He became a top reliever in 1951, saving 14 and winning 10 out of the bullpen, both top AL marks. In 1953 he made a then-record 69 appearances, again leading in relief wins (10) and saves (27). He retired with 102 career saves.

Despite making his MLB debut as a 31 year old rookie, Kinder had a reputable career. He is one of few pitchers in baseball history who won or saved a combined total of at least 200 games, and who were primarily starters for at least a third of their career.

Kinder was among the best starting pitchers in the American League in 1949, going 23-6 and leading the league in shutouts (6) and a .793 winning percentage, with a 130 adjusted ERA. In fact, Kinder's ERA+ for his four years as a starter were 87, 117, 130 and 115. Then, in 1951, the Red Sox, desperate for a relief pitcher, moved him to the pen where he shined as the best reliever in the AL until 1955.

In his 12-year career, Kinder compiled a 102-71 record with 749 strikeouts, a 3.43 ERA, 56 complete games, 10 shutouts, 102 saves, and 1479 innings pitched in 484 games.

On 17 May 1947 a seagull flew over Fenway Park and dropped a three-pound smelt on Kinder while he was pitching for the St. Louis Browns. Nevertheless, Kinder beat Boston 4-2.

Ellis Kinder died in Jackson, Tennessee, at the age of 54, after undergoing open-heart surgery.

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