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Ron Kline, 70; Relief Pitcher Who Won 114 Games in Majors

June 23, 2002|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Ron Kline, 70, a star relief pitcher who won 114 games during a 19-year major league career with several teams, died Saturday at his home in Callery, Pa. He was hospitalized last week for heart and kidney problems, but the cause of death was not announced.

A starting pitcher early in his career who later became an accomplished relief pitcher, Kline played for nine teams and had three tours of duty with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who originally brought him to the majors in 1952.

Kline also played for the Tigers, Twins, Angels and Senators, never making a start after the 1961 season. He made the conversion to late-inning reliever with the Senators, saving an American League-leading 29 games in 1965.

Among the 218 home runs he gave up during his career were the first by Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey and the 200th by career home-run king Hank Aaron.

After leaving baseball, Kline returned to Callery, his hometown, and served a term as mayor.

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