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Ted Kluszewski - Potential

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  • Ted Kluszewski - Potential

    So I heard that this big guy had some troubles with injuries, (Only 10 out of 15 years were there 100+ games).

    But, on the other hand, he was an excellent 1st basemen during the 50's, with a .302/.361/.518, 130 OPS+ for the decade.

    So my question is do you think if he were a bit more durable he would have had a solid chance for the Hall?
    “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.” Walter Lippmann

    "Fill in any figure you want for that boy (Mantle). Whatever the figure, it's a deal." - Branch Rickey

  • #2
    They still love Big Klu in Cincinnati. He was as good as any first baseman of his era, and, if he had been more durable, very well may have been a HOF'er.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
      They still love Big Klu in Cincinnati. He was as good as any first baseman of his era, and, if he had been more durable, very well may have been a HOF'er.
      You could say much the same for his also injury-prone contemporary, Joe Adcock. Their stats are very similar.

      But then again, there's another first baseman from that era, Gil Hodges, whose stats are also comparable, who was more durable, and was considered the best defensive first baseman of his time, and he can't crack the Hall of Fame.
      They call me Mr. Baseball. Not because of my love for the game; because of all the stitches in my head.

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      • #4
        Does anybody know why it took him time to really become the Big Klu we remember? He really didn't become a star until his late 20s. Was that injury related too?
        Last edited by dgarza; 10-17-2012, 08:29 AM.

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        • #5
          Ted Kluszewski didn't strike out much, but his walk number were not high either.

          But he was one of those few players who could regularly hit for both AVG and Power.

          Players with 40+ HRs and 40 or less Strikeouts in a season:
          Code:
                                                             
          Rk                 Yrs From   To                Age
          1   Ted Kluszewski   3 1953 1955 28-30 Ind. Seasons
          2      Johnny Mize   1 1948 1948 35-35 Ind. Seasons
          3     Joe DiMaggio   1 1937 1937 22-22 Ind. Seasons
          4       Lou Gehrig   1 1934 1934 31-31 Ind. Seasons
          5          Mel Ott   1 1929 1929 20-20 Ind. Seasons
          Players with 40+ HRs and .310+ AVG:
          Code:
                                                                 
          Rk                     Yrs From   To                Age
          1            Babe Ruth  11 1920 1932 25-37 Ind. Seasons
          2        Albert Pujols   6 2003 2010 23-30 Ind. Seasons
          3       Alex Rodriguez   5 1998 2007 22-31 Ind. Seasons
          4          Barry Bonds   5 1993 2004 28-39 Ind. Seasons
          5          Jimmie Foxx   5 1932 1938 24-30 Ind. Seasons
          6           Lou Gehrig   5 1927 1936 24-33 Ind. Seasons
          7           Hank Aaron   4 1957 1971 23-37 Ind. Seasons
          8         Albert Belle   3 1995 1998 28-31 Ind. Seasons
          9         Frank Thomas   3 1993 2000 25-32 Ind. Seasons
          10       Juan Gonzalez   3 1993 1998 23-28 Ind. Seasons
          11         Willie Mays   3 1954 1965 23-34 Ind. Seasons
          12      Ted Kluszewski   3 1953 1955 28-30 Ind. Seasons
          13      Hank Greenberg   3 1937 1940 26-29 Ind. Seasons
          14          Sammy Sosa   2 2000 2001 31-32 Ind. Seasons
          15         Todd Helton   2 2000 2001 26-27 Ind. Seasons
          16        Jason Giambi   2 2000 2002 29-31 Ind. Seasons
          17   Vladimir Guerrero   2 1999 2000 24-25 Ind. Seasons
          18           Mo Vaughn   2 1996 1998 28-30 Ind. Seasons
          19      Gary Sheffield   2 1996 2000 27-31 Ind. Seasons
          20    Carl Yastrzemski   2 1967 1970 27-30 Ind. Seasons
          21       Mickey Mantle   2 1956 1961 24-29 Ind. Seasons
          22         Duke Snider   2 1953 1954 26-27 Ind. Seasons
          23         Ralph Kiner   2 1947 1949 24-26 Ind. Seasons
          24         Chuck Klein   2 1929 1930 24-25 Ind. Seasons

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          • #6
            I'm not sure why Kluszewski's power numbers took some years to develop, but he injured his back- I'm pretty sure during the 56 season- and was never the same. Having also suffered serious back problems, it's clear to me why his performance dropped significantly. He played for the Pirates in 58 and still could hit for average but couldn't generate power. Too bad, because he was an enormously strong guy. To be fair, players usually didn't last as long back then, but he probably lost 2- 3, maybe 4 productive seasons. If he'd had them, he might have had a shot. But, as with so many players, circumstances dictated otherwise.

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            • #7
              Surprisingly, in his worst season, Kluszewski was a beast in the 1959 World Series for the losing White Sox. He was the best hitter for them in that series.

              In the 1st game 11-0 White Sox win, he went 3 for 3 in his 1st 3 PAs, with 2 HRs and 5 RBIs.

              Code:
                                                                                                                              
              Year   Age  Tm Lg Series Opp Rslt G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
                                                                                                                              
              1959    34 CHW AL     WS LAD    L 6 25 23 5 9  1  0  3  10  0  0  2  0 .391 .440 .826 1.266 19   1   0  0  0   2
              1 WS                              6 25 23 5 9  1  0  3  10  0  0  2  0 .391 .440 .826 1.266 19   1   0  0  0   2

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              • #8
                1B debut 1937+, retired before 1974
                Code:
                Player           WAR/pos OPS+ Rfield  HR  RBI   PA From   To
                Gil Hodges          40.7  120     48 370 1274 8102 1943 1963
                Bill White          35.3  116     57 202  870 6678 1956 1969
                Joe Adcock          30.1  124      2 336 1122 7302 1950 1966
                Mickey Vernon       30.1  116    -22 172 1311 9838 1939 1960
                Earl Torgeson       29.9  117      8 149  740 6046 1947 1961
                Ted Kluszewski      29.2  123    -17 279 1028 6469 1947 1961
                Ferris Fain         25.3  120     14  48  570 4904 1947 1955
                Bill Skowron        24.6  119     45 211  888 6046 1954 1967
                Roy Sievers         22.8  124    -79 318 1147 7347 1949 1965
                Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

                Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 1905 Giants View Post
                  So I heard that this big guy had some troubles with injuries, (Only 10 out of 15 years were there 100+ games).

                  But, on the other hand, he was an excellent 1st basemen during the 50's, with a .302/.361/.518, 130 OPS+ for the decade.

                  So my question is do you think if he were a bit more durable he would have had a solid chance for the Hall?
                  Yes, Kluszewkski's career had the peak value of a HOFer but he wasn't able to sustain. One of the many interesting things about Klu is the wide variance in the weights he was listed as being.

                  When I was a kid Klu gave his name to one of those baseball camps that advertised in the back of the SPORTING NEWS. I also remember his mountainous presence lurking in the dugout of the Reds in the 1976 World Series.

                  Finally, Klu was immortalized in RAIN MAIN By Raymond/Dustin Hoffman as he looked at the baseball card his caregiver Vern has pinned on the wall: "Ted Kluszewski, yeah, Big Cat, traded for Dee Fondy, 1958...main man Vern".

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Steven Gallanter View Post
                    Yes, Kluszewkski's career had the peak value of a HOFer but he wasn't able to sustain.
                    Pretty much. At his peak, he was as good as Cepeda or Hodges probably. But his peak was bookended by two much weaker 5-year periods.

                    Early Career
                    1947-1951
                    Age 22-26
                    .286/.322/.437
                    101 OPS+
                    591 Hits
                    58 HRs
                    315 RBIs
                    4.0 WAR

                    Mid Career
                    1952-1956
                    Age 27-31
                    .316/.383/.571
                    148 OPS+
                    874 Hits
                    187 HRs
                    550 RBIs
                    23.8 WAR

                    Late Career
                    Age 32-36
                    .275/.329/.427
                    100 OPS+
                    301 Hits
                    34 HRs
                    163 RBIs
                    1.4 WAR

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dgarza View Post
                      Pretty much. At his peak, he was as good as Cepeda or Hodges probably. But his peak was bookended by two much weaker 5-year periods.

                      Early Career
                      1947-1951
                      Age 22-26
                      .286/.322/.437
                      101 OPS+
                      591 Hits
                      58 HRs
                      315 RBIs
                      4.0 WAR

                      Mid Career
                      1952-1956
                      Age 27-31
                      .316/.383/.571
                      148 OPS+
                      874 Hits
                      187 HRs
                      550 RBIs
                      23.8 WAR

                      Late Career
                      Age 32-36
                      .275/.329/.427
                      100 OPS+
                      301 Hits
                      34 HRs
                      163 RBIs
                      1.4 WAR
                      Right- but the final 5 year performance was driven mostly by his bad back.

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                      • #12
                        I also don't think Klu was a good fielder(?)
                        "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

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                        • #13
                          just to slice up Big Klu's stats one more way:

                          1953 thru 1956: 171 HR, 140 K. Not bad!

                          I don't remember him as an especially nimble fielder, but I see per baseball-reference.com that he was top three in 1B range factor four times, and that he lead the league's 1st basemen in F% five years in a row (although F% for a 1B can be a fairly meaningless stat - Zeke Bonura lead the league in F% three times).
                          Last edited by westsidegrounds; 10-17-2012, 03:33 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Tyrus4189Cobb View Post
                            I also don't think Klu was a good fielder(?)
                            Here's what I remember- Kluszewski, though very big for his time- 6'2", usually around 240 regardless of what the cards might have said, was a good athlete. He'd been a top flight football player at Illinois, I believe. He didn't have a lot of speed but was reasonably agile for a big guy. He also seemed to have good hands. All in all I remember him as a pretty decent fielder, but definitely not in a category with Hodges or Vic Power, two contemporaries- or Musial, when he played there.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Based on the last two posts, what I know of Klu, and his fielding stats, my final verdict is an average fielder.
                              "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

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