BRADENTON, Fla. -- Fans of the 1946-53 Pirates refused to make an early departure from Forbes Field, rooted to their seats by the potential of getting one more look at No. 4.
During the 2014 season, fans will see that No. 4 -- worn by Ralph Kiner and retired by the Bucs in 1987 -- on the sleeves of all the Pirates as the club will honor the memory of the Hall of Famer, who passed away on Feb. 6.
The patch -- a black circle with gold trim and "4" outlined by gold in the center -- will be part of the Pirates' home white, road grey and black alternate jerseys.
"In February, Major League Baseball truly lost one of the cherished ambassadors of our game and a treasured member of the Pirates family," said club president Frank Coonelly. "We are humbled to honor one of the game's greatest power hitters by wearing Ralph's number on our sleeve during the 2014 campaign."
Kiner was unquestionably the greatest power hitter the Bucs have ever fielded, leading the National League in homers in each of his seven full seasons (1946-52) in Pittsburgh. He departed the Steel City in a mid-1946 deal to the Cubs, and from Chicago transitioned to a long second career in the broadcast booth of the New York Mets.
But, clearly, he never left Pittsburgh's heart. And in 2014, Pittsburgh will wear that heart on its sleeves.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.