Ted Kluszewski’s birthday today.
Even though I’m not what you’d call a Reds fan, this is still one of my favorite baseball cards. (I wonder if that little guy on the uniform, with the moustache, I wonder if he’s got a name?)
No, they don’t make ’em like Big Ted anymore.Ted was born in 1924, making him a lot older than me. He’d be celebrating his 90th birthday, I guess, if he was still alive, which he ain’t. Ted passed away in 1988, at only 63.
Couple of things about Ted. He was a four time all-star, 1953-56, and led the majors in home runs in 1954. (With 49.) Plus he led the National League first basemen in fielding average five times. He had 15 inch biceps and cut the sleeves off his jersey because they restricted his swing. He was the hitting coach on the Big Red Machine teams of the seventies.
Okay, one last tid-bit, from the SABR bio:
What separated Kluszewski from the rest of the musclemen was his off-the-charts discipline at the plate. He totaled 31 fewer strikeouts (140) than home runs (171) in his four peak seasons. Of the 10 times in major-league history that a player hit at least 40 homers with fewer strikeouts, three were by Kluszewski. The others on the list: Lou Gehrig (twice), Johnny Mize (twice), Mel Ott, Joe DiMaggio, and Barry Bonds.
Pretty impressive list to be at the top of.
Happy birthday, Mr. Kluszewski, sir.