At the start of that year, his second in the big leagues, the Pirates acquired the great slugger Hank Greenberg from the Detroit Tigers, and Greenberg became Kiner’s roommate and mentor (and later his best man at his wedding to Chaffee), advising him on his swing, his preparation, his work ethic.
Greenberg’s acquisition helped Kiner in more tangible ways as well. For one thing, Greenberg hit behind him in the batting order, protecting him, making sure he got better pitches to hit, and Kiner hit .313, the highest average of his career. What’s more, to accommodate Greenberg, the Pirates had modified Forbes Field, moving in the left field fence to bring it in line with other ballparks and installing the bullpens behind it, an area that came to be called Greenberg Gardens for the long balls the new Pirate was expected to plant there.
But it was Kiner who was the primary beneficiary of the change, hitting 51 home runs. Playing what turned out to be his last season, Greenberg hit 25. Greenberg Gardens was rechristened Kiner’s Korner.
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