Saturday, December 11, 2010
Don Kessinger was the traditional weak-hitting shortstop that could field well. Back in those days, if a shortstop could field, he was given a pass on his bat. No Ripken, A-Rod, Jeter or Tejada of today. Nope. And Don was that somewhat tall, skinny kid that naturally ended up at shortstop. He came along several years after All-Star shortstop Ernie Banks was moved to first base, and after only a few years in the bigs, he became the All-Star shortstop. The Cubs had a lot of All-Star shortstop action in the 50's to the 70's. He played 16 seasons in the majors, yet hit only 14 home runs. He never played in the post-season, either. One of his All-Star appearances appears on the back of this card under the star - where else? Two for two isn't bad in the Summer Classic.
I remember seeing Kessinger play short on TV when I was a kid. I watched him on radio, too, when they played the Giants. He was the fixture SS for the Cubbies. This 1974 season would be his last All-Star team.
Cartoon: Don gained 25 pounds eating the spread in the dressing room prior to the game, and promptly got six hits in six at bats that day. Oh what a day for Oscar Meyer. I guess all that MSG made him see stars. Hey, Doc Ellis pitched a no-hitter on LSD, so why can't Kessinger go 6-for-6 on MSG?
Ballpark background: Here's a shot of Kessinger with an amazing amount of real estate behind him. Or, third base side at Candlestick Park. This Astro-turf layout was certainly bigger than the Brady Bunch back yard. Candlestick and the Oakland Coliseum were the two parks with the most foul territory until the Giants built a new park. The A's now rule foul ground.