Monday, April 4, 2011
Wanna buy 4,000 Kiner pins?
An item I found in a 1953 issue of The Sporting News, however, gives us a rare glimpse of the origins of an item of baseball memorabila that is still popularly collected today.
The Pirates cut Kiner's pay by 17% for 1953, to $75,000 and he held out for virtually all of spring training. Trade rumors were rampant and on June 4 he was traded along with Joe Garagiola, George Metkovich and Howie Pollet to the Chicago Cubs for Bob Addis, Toby Atwell, George Freese, Gene Hermanski, Bob Schultz, Preston Ward and $150,000.
O'Brisky was able to unload the buttons to Cubs' concessionaire Ray Kneip at the fire sale price of a nickel apiece (though we don't know what O'Brisky originally paid), and they were offered for sale at Wrigley Field for a quarter. But with Kiner pictured in his "old" uniform, sales were less than brisk.
Presumably, when Kiner was traded to the Indians at the end of the 1954 season, the remainder of the unsold buttons either went with him or were junked.