~Rick Kaempfer 1963 (Cubs fan 1968-present)
Rick is the editor-in-chief of Just One Bad Century. His latest book “Father Knows Nothing” is available right here at Just One Bad Century. If you’re a parent or you ever had a parent, and you have a sense of humor, you’ll enjoy Rick’s book. There are also some amusing stories about taking his kids to Wrigley Field. In this video he tells the story of his favorite day at Wrigley Field…
~Mike Kahoe 1873 (Orphans 1901-1902)
Kahoe was Miller’s teammate (above), although he was more of a jack of all trades. Kahoe played a little catcher, and every infield position during his time in Chicago. He skipped out of town in 1902 and joined the American League (St. Louis Browns). His big league career lasted eleven seasons.
~Al Kaiser 1886 (Cubs 1911)
Kaiser had one of the great nicknames–they called him Deerfoot. The outfielder reached base fewer than thirty times with the Cubs, but he still managed to steal six bases. Unfortunately, he couldn’t steal first base. His career batting average was only .216.
~Don “Tiger” Kaiser 1935 (Cubs 1955-1957).
His real first name was Clyde, he went by Don, and everyone called him Tiger. Unlike another well-known Tiger today, Chicago’s Tiger was not controversial. Don Kaiser was a bonus baby pitcher the Cubs signed in 1955 with high hopes. That ’55 Cubs team was as bad as any of Chicago’s incredibly woeful 1950s bunch, so they brought Tiger right up to the bigs and put him in the bullpen. He performed well enough to get a shot at the starting rotation the next year, and the big tall (6’5”) right hander from Oklahoma was 6-15 as a member of the Cubs rotation in ’56 and ’57. He was dealt to the Braves after the ’57 season. Tiger couldn’t crack that loaded NL champion team squad the next spring, however, and never made it back to the big leagues again. (Photo: Topps 1956 Baseball Card)
~Ryan Kalish 1988 (Cubs 2014, 2016)
Kalish came up through the Red Sox system, and was signed as a free agent by his former bosses Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. With the Cubs he showed great hustle and determination, but he hit only .248 in 57 games. He signed with the Blue Jays after the season. The Cubs brought him back in 2016 and he played with the big league club for about a week in May. He had a few big hits, but the stacked roster didn’t have a permanent place for Kalish. He was granted his free agency after the season again.
~John Kane 1882 (Cubs 1909-1910)
Kane was a utility infielder for the Cubs team that was renowned for their defense. He backed up both Tinker and Evers. In 1910 Kane was on the postseason roster for the Cubs, and batted twice (without a hit) in the 1910 World Series.
~Matt Karchner 1967 (Cubs 1998-2000)
Acquired in one of those classic terrible Cubs trades (for Jon Garland), Karchner was brought in to help out the struggling bullpen in 1998. The former White Sox closer was lit up the rest of that year, and hurt his arm the following season. Meanwhile, Jon Garland went on to win more than 10 games six years in a row (including two 18-win seasons) for the White Sox. Among his exploits, starting Game 3 of the 2005 World Series (an eventual win for the Sox).
~Eric Karros 1967 (Cubs 2003)
Karros only played with the Cubs for one year, but it was quite a year–the year the Cubs were within five outs of going to the World Series. When he wasn’t playing in the games, Karros was filming the historic moments from inside the Cubs dugout. He also took home a souvenir (photo). He unveiled it on the air while he was broadcasting the 2014 playoffs–a Cubs cap with a 2003 World Series logo embroidered in the side. It was in his locker during Game 6 of that series, but obviously never worn. The former Rookie of the Year with the Dodgers played pretty well in his only Cubs season. He hit 12 homers while splitting time at first base with midseason acquisition Randall Simon.
~Len Kasper 1971 (Cubs announcer 2005-present)
Len has been the TV play-by-play man for the Cubs since 2005. He replaced Chip Caray, who had the job before him. Len does a great job on the broadcasts, often spicing them up by appealing to the stats geeks (with an occasional SABR-metric) and the rock and roll generation (with music references). He also hosts an occasional rock and roll show on WXRT radio. When Bob Brenley was his color man, Len & Bob would even rock out every year the night before the Cubs Convention…
~Jack Katoll 1872 (1888-1889 Orphans)
Known as “Big Jack” or “Katy”, Katoll was one of several Cubs (then known as Orphans) players to be born in Germany. He started four games for Chicago over two seasons, and threw three complete games. He later also pitched for the White Sox and Baltimore. After his playing career he settled in the Chicago area.
~Tony Kaufmann 1900 (Cubs 1920-1927)
Kaufmann was a local Chicago boy who made it to the big leagues with his hometown Cubs at the young age of 20. After a few years of bullpen work and spot starting, Tony claimed a spot in the rotation in 1923 and began a string of three excellent seasons. He won 14, 16, and 13 games those three years–pitching as the third starter in a rotation that also included an aging Grover Cleveland Alexander (he was 14 years older than Tony). Kaufmann was traded to the Phillies in 1927, and finished his career (in 1935) with the St. Louis Cardinals. After his playing days were over, Tony relocated back to his hometown. He passed away in Elgin in 1982.
~Munenori Kawasaki 1981 (Cubs 2016)
The energetic Japanese infielder was 35 years old when the Cubs signed him to help provide backup infield help. Kawasaki had a great career in Japan, and was coming off a solid season with the Blue Jays. He made the Cubs roster out of spring training, but spent most of the season with Iowa. He returned after the rosters expanded in September. Kawasaki was a popular teammate thanks to his enthusiasm. The Cubs granted him free agency after the season.
~Teddy Kearns 1900 (1924-1925 Cubs)
Teddy only played in seven games for the Cubs over two seasons.
~Chick Keating 1891 (Cubs 1913-1915)
Chick was a backup infielder for the Cubs during their last three seasons at West Side Grounds. He didn’t get many opportunities, probably because he was definitely a liability as a batter. In 43 at bats, he only managed to scratch out four hits (a double, and three singles).
~Vic Keen 1899 (Cubs 1921-1925)
Keen was the fifth starter and swingman on a Cubs staff that also featured Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander. He won 12 games in that capicity in 1923. In ’24, they moved him into the rotation fulltime and Vic responded with his best big league season. He and another Vic, Vic Aldridge, each won 15 games that year. The Cubs traded him to the Cardinals in 1925 for slick-fielding shortstop Jimmy Cooney.
~John Kelleher 1893 (Cubs 1921-1923)
Kelleher was a backup infielder for the Cubs for three seasons, filling in at every infield position. He got a lot of playing time too, because two of the infielders from that era (Grimes and Hollocher) were oft-injured. Luckily for the Cubs, Kelleher was also a good hitter. He hit over .300 two of his three years. After his playing career, he became a college coach, first for Harvard, and later for Brown.
~Mick Kelleher 1947 (Cubs 1976-1980)
In more than 1000 at bats, covering 11 major league seasons (including five with the Cubs), Kelleher never hit a home run. He was the starting second baseman for the Cubs in 1976, but batted only .228. That led the Cubs to acquire Manny Trillo to cover the position the following year. Kelleher remained with Chicago in a mainly backup role for another four seasons.
~Frank Kellert 1924 (Cubs 1956)
Kellert was a first baseman who only got a brief taste of the big leagues in the 1950s. He got cups of coffee with the Browns, Orioles, and Dodgers, before he came to Chicago. With the Dodgers he was part of the Boys of Summer who won the World Series. Frank even got three at-bats in that series and got a hit. The Cubs gave him his most extended playing time of his career the following year. In 129 at bats he hit four homers and knocked in 17 runs, but he hit only .186. That was it for the big leagues. Kellert spent the rest of his career in the minors, before hanging up his spikes for good in 1959.
Bob Kelly 1927 (Cubs 1951-1953)
Kelly was a righthanded pitcher who came up with the Cubs and pitched as a swing-starter for two seasons, and part of a third. The Cubs traded him to the Reds in the middle of the 1953 season for Bubba Church. Kelly couldn’t have been thrilled with the trade. He was sent to the minors shortly after arriving in Cincinnati and didn’t return to the big leagues until five years later.
~High Pockets Kelly 1895 (Cubs 1930)
Kelly was a member of the legendary 1930 Cubs team that blew the pennant in the last few days of the season. Tall for his time (6’4″), Kelly was nicknamed Highpockets and Long George by the press; but to his teammates he was Kell, a reserved and even-tempered Derrek Lee-type, and one of the best fielding first basemen of all time. He is a Hall of Famer, although not because of his years with the Cubs. Like many of the Hall of Famers who wore a Cubs uniform, he only wore it after he was washed up. He was in his 15th big league season. Kelly hit .331 in 39 games for the Cubs. He isn’t considered a Hall of Famer by many baseball experts, including Bill James, who calls him “the worst player in the Hall of Fame.” He was elected into the Hall by a veterans committee consisting of ex-teammates (with the Giants).
~Joe Kelly 1886 (Cubs 1916)
Kelly was a backup outfielder for the Cubs during their first year in Wrigley Field. He played all three outfield positions and hit .254. He had good speed, but no power. His career totals tell the story: 66 stolen bases, 6 homers. Kelly also played for the Boston Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates, but the bulk of his career was spent in the minors. He played an incredible 23 seasons in the minor leagues.
~Joe Kelly 1900 (Cubs 1926-1928)
Kelly actually played in 1926 and 1928, and was in the minors In 1927. In ’26 he hit .334 in 176 at bats as a corner outfielder, backing up two even better hitters Riggs Stephenson and Hack Wilson. Most of his at-bats in 1928 came at the end of the season when the Cubs were already out of it.
~Mike King Kelly 1857 (White Stockings 1880-1886)
King Kelly was famous for his running and hitting (he invented or at least perfected the hit and run), and he was said to have inspired the poem “Casey at the Bat,” but he was also considered a big fat cheater. If the umpire wasn’t looking, he would run from first to third by running across the diamond over the pitcher’s mound. He once came into the game in the middle of a play (from a drunken stupor on the bench) and announced “Kelly, Now Catching” so that he could take the throw and tag out the runner at home plate. (A rule was instituted after that banning something that nobody assumed needed to be spelled out—No mid-play substitutions). They even wrote a song about him called “Slide Kelly Slide.” The lyrics were…
Your running’s a disgrace,
Stay there, hold your base!
If someone doesn’t steal you,
And your batting doesn’t fail you,
They’ll take you to Australia!
Slide, Kelly, Slide
But that’s not what he was remembered for. Mike King Kelly was also a notorious drunk. Cap Anson hired a Pinkerton to keep an eye on him. When the report came in about Kelly’s off-the-field behavior, it claimed that he was out until 3 AM drinking lemonade. Kelly angrily denied it. “I was not! That was straight whiskey. I never drank lemonade at that hour in my life!” Kelly drank before, during, and after the games. One time the game had to be held up because Kelly was getting drunk with some fans in the box seats. Of course it caught up to him. The White Stockings (now known as the Cubs) got rid of him by selling him to Boston for $10,000 (which was a ton of money in those days). In Boston, the drinking took it’s toll. He had to be sobered up before every game in a Turkish bath. He lasted until 1893, but the last few years he was just a shell of the player he once was…and he wasn’t even that old. He drank himself to death the following year at the age of 36. 5000 fans came to see him at his funeral. King Kelly was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.
AUDIO: 1909 version of “Casey at the Bat”, ridiculously overdramatized by DeForrest Hopper…
~David Kelton 1979 (Cubs 2003-2004)
David was a second round pick of the Cubs, but he never really developed into the offensive force they projected. The outfielder had respectable, if not outstanding numbers in the minors, but only got two brief shots with the big club. In 22 at bats over two seasons, he got three hits.
~Jason Kendall 1974 (Cubs 2007)
The Cubs knew they weren’t getting the same caliber of player that had been named to three all-star teams and was second all-time in stolen bases by a catcher. Kendall had really lost all the pop in his bat when the Cubs acquired him for the 2007 playoff push. He did start at catcher for the team the rest of the year, and in the playoffs, but the Cubs looked elsewhere for a catcher the following season.
~Bob Kennedy 1920 (Cubs “Head Coach” 1963-1965, Cubs GM 1977-1981)
Kennedy was a very good big league player. He played 16 seasons in the majors (ten of those seasons were with the White Sox) and would have had a few more if the war hadn’t interrupted his playing career. The native Chicagoan was brought in to save the Cubs from their preposterous College of Coaches experiment. Although, P.K. Wrigley wasn’t quite ready to admit defeat about this plan–he still didn’t refer to Kennedy as a manager, only as the head coach. In his first year at the helm of the Cubs, Kennedy led them to their best season in years. The team finished over .500–although that still placed them in the bottom half of the division. Nevertheless, with a good nucleus of players like Banks, Santo, Williams, and Brock, things looked like they were going in the right direction. The next year they regressed a bit (and traded Lou Brock), and by mid-1965, Kennedy was replaced by Lou Klein. In 1977, Wrigley brought Kennedy back, this time as the General Manager of the team. He held that position for 4 1/2 years before being replaced by Dallas Green. His best draft choice as the GM was probably Joe Carter. Of course, that pick was only made possible by the team’s horrendous play the year before (Carter was second overall pick). Kennedy’s son Terry was also a big league player. He was the starting catcher on the 1984 Padres team that broke the hearts of Cub fans everywhere. (Photo: 1964 Topps Baseball Card)
~Junior Kennedy 1950 (Cubs 1982-1983)
Kennedy was a utility infielder in the big leagues for seven seasons, the last two of which were with the Cubs. He actually got a substantial amount of playing time in his first season in Chicago, getting over 240 at bats. Unfortunately for Junior, he didn’t take advantage of the situation, batting only .219.
~Snapper Kennedy 1878 (Orphans 1902)
Kennedy had one of the all-time great names, but he only played in one big league baseball game. That came with the Cubs (then known as the Orphans) on May 1, 1902. He played centerfield and batted five times in a scoreless 12-inning game at West Side Grounds that was called because of darkness. Snapper didn’t reach base.
~Ted Kennedy 1865 (White Stockings 1885)
He was signed by Chicago in June of 1885 because they were down to one pitcher (John Clarkson) and Kennedy had been doing some incredible things on a team in Keokuk. He pitched nine games for Chicago (and won 7 of them), but developed an arm injury, and was released in September.
~Marty Keough 1934 (Cubs 1966)
Marty is the patriarch of a baseball family–his little brother Joe and his son Matt both also played big league baseball. Marty had an eleven year career as a big league outfielder, even though he didn’t get many chances to crack the starting lineup. He played for the Red Sox, Senators, Indians, Reds and Braves before finishing his career with the Cubs. He may not have been a star, but he played alongside a who’s who of his era: HOFers Ted Williams (Red Sox), Frank Robinson (Reds), Tony Perez (Reds), Hank Aaron (Braves), Phil Niekro (Braves), Ernie Banks (Cubs), Ron Santo (Cubs), Billy Williams (Cubs), and Fergie Jenkins (Cubs). He remained in the game after his playing career ended, working as a scout for the Padres, Dodgers, and the Cardinals.
~Matt Keough 1955 (Cubs 1986)
Matt’s father Marty played for the Cubs when Matt was 11 years old. Matt got off to a good start in his own big league career. He was an all-star in second year, but he soon developed arm problems. After that, Keough managed to hang on in the big leagues for another six years despite having very little success. One of those years (1986) was with the Cubs. He was 2-2 with a 4.97 ERA when the Cubs released him in June.
~Mel Kerr 1903 (Cubs 1925)
Kerr is one of only two Manitobans to play in the big leagues–but his time was incredibly brief. His entire career can be described as follows: He came in as a pinch runner for Tommy Griffith, who had gotten a single as a pinch hitter. Kerr scored a run, but it was too little too late, and the Cubs lost 8-6 to Boston.
~Don Kessinger 1942 (Cubs 1964-1975)
Kessinger had a brilliant career with the Cubs, holding down the starting shortstop position for over a decade during the Cubs resurgence of the late 60s/early 70s. Kessinger was an All-Star five years in a row (68-72) and a two-time Gold Glover. He and Glenn Beckert formed the Cubs double play combination for nine seasons. Kessinger was known as a fine glove man, and though he was probably miscast as a leadoff man on a team that didn’t really have a better alternative, he was also a tough out. He scored a lot of runs with the likes of Banks, Williams, and Santo hitting behind him. He was up to bat when the infamous black cat crossed Ron Santo’s path in the on-deck circle in 1969. When Kessinger was traded away in 1975, he was the last player from that fondly recalled era. He later played for the Cardinals and White Sox, and even managed the Sox. (Photo: Topps 1969 Baseball Card)
AUDIO of Kessinger Inside the Park Homer:
Cubs announcer Vince Lloyd explains Leo Durocher’s feelings about Don Kessinger…
~Brooks Kieschnick 1972 (Cubs 1996-1997)
Kieschnick was a great college hitter even though his primary position was pitcher. The Cubs liked him so much they drafted him with the tenth overall pick and converted him into an outfielder. He was considered their top prospect, and eventually made it up to the big league club. But Brooks was not an everyday player. He struck out too much, and he had a hard time in the field. The Cubs left him unprotected in the expansion draft of 1997 and Tampa picked him. Kieschnick eventually made it back up to the show with the Brewers who used him as a pitcher and pinch hitter. He is the only player in history to hit a homer as a pitcher, designated hitter and pinch hitter in the same season.
~Pete Kilduff 1893 (Cubs 1917-1919)
Pete was an infielder (mainly second base) for the Cubs during the first few years at their new ballpark (Wrigley Field). He was on the pennant winning team of 1918, but didn’t appear in the World Series against the Red Sox. A few years later he got his only taste of the World Series as a part of the Brooklyn Robins. His claim to fame is being one of the three outs of an unassisted triple play. Pete was hired to be the manager of the minor league San Francisco Seals in 1930, but he died of an appendicitis attack before the season started. He was only 37 years old.
~Paul Kilgus 1962 (Cubs 1989)
He was part of the trade that brought Mitch Williams to the Cubs (at great cost–Rafael Palmeiro and Jamie Moyer went to the Rangers). Kilgus and Williams both contributed during the Cubs division winning season of 1989. Kilgus threw three shutout innings in the series against the Giants, one of the few Cubs pitchers who pitched well. Even Greg Maddux was lit up by the white-hot Will Clark.
~Bill Killefer 1887 (Cubs 1918-1921)
Bill Killefer was nicknamed Reindeer for his lumbering running style. Reindeer was a catcher and he ran like one. But he wasn’t just any catcher. Killifer was the personal catcher for Grover Cleveland Alexander, and he was the only one who could handle him on and off the field. Bill caught him with the Phillies, and for the first four years Alexander was with the Cubs, and managed him after that (with the Cubs), but when he was fired by the Cubs, Alexander fell apart. Some of the most legendary stories of Alexander’s drinking occurred during the days that Reindeer wasn’t around. When Alexander was reunited with Killifer in St. Louis (where Reindeer Bill was a coach), he immediately regained his touch, and added a few more great seasons to one of the greatest pitching careers of all-time.
~Frank Killen 1870 (Orphans 1900)
Killen was a two-time 30-game winner for Pittsburgh before he came to the Cubs (then known as the Orphans). Chicago was the last stop of his excellent career, but Killen was pretty much done. He had pitched 2500 innings in his previous nine big league seasons. With the Cubs he was 3-3.
~Matt Kilroy 1866 (Orphans 1898)
Kilroy set a record early in his career that will likely never be broken. He pitched 589 innings for Baltimore. He also won 46 games that year. By the time he came to the Cubs (then known as the Orphans), he had logged 2300 innings in his nine year career. He completed ten of his eleven starts and won 6 games in the last season of his career. His teammates called him “Matches”.
~Newt Kimball 1915 (Cubs 1937-1938)
Newt only had a cup of coffee with the Cubs in both 1937 and 1938, and it didn’t go well either time. He was rocked hard, registering ERAs of 10.80 and 9.00. However, after spending a few more seasons in the minors, he stuck in the majors for the first few years of the 1940s (with the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Phillies). After his playing days were over he became a minor league manager in Las Vegas.
~Bruce Kimm 1951 (Cubs player 1979, Cubs manager 2002)
Kimm was a big league catcher, but other than his first season in the big leagues when he was the personal catcher for Mark Fidrych in Detroit, and his last one in 1980 with the White Sox, he didn’t get a lot of playing time. His Cubs playing career lasted exactly nine games. He went 1 for 11. Kimm is probably better remembered for his stint as manager of the Cubs. He took over the job from Don Baylor after Baylor was fired. When the season was over, Kimm was replaced by Dusty Baker.
~Jerry Kindall 1935 (Cubs 1956-1961)
The Cubs signed Jerry (nicknamed Slim) as a Bonus Baby, but he never quite made the impact they anticipated. His best season with the Cubs was 1961. He hit .242 that year. Jerry played on the Cubs for parts of five seasons, and later played with the Indians and Twins, but the second baseman holds a career record that nobody wants. Of all the players since 1920 with more than 2000 career at bats, Jerry has the lowest batting average (.213). On the other hand, after his big league career, he became a college coach at the University of Arizona and had a tremendous career. He won three College World Series titles and was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. (Photo: 1958 Topps Baseball Card)
This video is about the1980 champs, which included future Cubs Craig Lefferts and Terry Francona…
~Ralph Kiner 1922 (Cubs 1953-1954)
He was one of the most feared sluggers in the league when he played for the Pirates, but by the time the Cubs got him (1953), he was not the same player. He led the league in home runs all seven seasons with the Pirates, and though he did have a decent power season with the Cubs in 1953 (making the all-star team), he was so slow by then, he could barely field his position. Combined with the equally slow Hank Sauer in right, the Cubs outfield during those two seasons might have been the worst fielding outfield the Cubs ever had. Kiner joked that both he and Sauer used to scream “You got it, Frankie” every time the ball was hit in the air. Frankie Baumholtz was the centerfielder on that team. After the 1954 season Kiner was traded to the Indians for Sam Jones, who went on to pitch a no-hitter for the Cubs in 1955. Ralph Kiner is a proud member of baseball’s Hall of Fame, but when you look at his plaque, don’t expect to see him wearing a Cubs hat. (Photo: 1954 Red Heart Baseball Card)
Ralph and his famous wife…
~Chick King 1930 (Cubs 1958-1959)
The centerfielder was mainly a career minor leaguer who got an occasional taste of the show for the Tigers, Cardinals, and Cubs. Over five seasons, he had only 76 career big league plate appearances. He was a .280 hitter in his eleven years of minor league ball.
~Jim King 1932 (Cubs 1955-1956)
King broke into the big leagues with the Cubs and got significant playing time in right field for two seasons. He hit 26 homers for the Cubs and was traded to the Cardinals in 1957 for Bobby Del Greco. King played eleven seasons in the big leagues, including five full seasons as a starter with the Washington Senators. He also played for the Giants, White Sox and Indians.
~Ray King 1974 (Cubs 1999)
King got his start with the Cubs, but pitched another nine years after he left them. In 593 career appearances he never started a game.
~Dave Kingman 1948 (Cubs 1978-1980)
All the elements were in place for a wonderful long term marriage between the Cubs and Dave Kingman. He was a prodigious slugger; his home runs were already the stuff of legend. The Cubs were having trouble drawing fans, and he was the kind of player that brought people to the ballpark. In addition to that, he was a local boy (Prospect High School) returning to play in front of his home town fans. He even lived up to his billing; slugging home runs onto Waveland Avenue with regularity. Yet, by the time Kingman left Chicago, he might have been one of the most hated players in Cubs history. How did things go so horribly wrong? His first year with the Cubs (1978) he hit 28 homers, and some of them were dramatic, but his personality was already rubbing people the wrong way. His 1979 season was one of the best in Cubs history (he hit 48 homers), so his teammates and fans looked the other way as he said and did things that irritated one and all. It wasn’t 1980 that things really got ugly, and they got ugly in a hurry.
In April Kingman caused a stir when he threw a bucket of ice water on a newspaper reporter for the Daily Herald. This unprovoked attack (the reporter was interviewing someone else–Lenny Randle) led to a reprimand from the league office, but not much else.
In June, Kingman didn’t show up for a game. He had been given the previous day off to fly to San Diego after his home was burglarized, but he didn’t make it back in time for the next day’s game. The Cubs fined him for that. When he finally did show up the next day he showed up with a sore shoulder and had to be put on the disabled list. He was out for two months.
During that time on the DL, the Cubs scheduled “Dave Kingman Day” at the ballpark. They gave away 15,000 Dave Kingman t-shirts, and even though he was in town that day, he didn’t show up at the ballpark. He did a paid gig promoting Jet Skis instead.
By the end of that season people hated him. Mike Royko, who had been a Cubs fan for forty years, publicly switched his allegiance to the White Sox because he despised Kingman so much. (He called him Ding Dong instead of his previous nickname King Kong).
In the off season the Cubs did what they had to do; they traded Kingman back to the Mets. After news of Kingman’s trade became public, his teammates all expressed relief that he was gone. Royko even became a Cubs fan again.And though Dave Kingman continued to slug homers (he hit another 172 in his career), and retired with the most career homers of any player not in the Hall of Fame, he never even got a sniff from Hall of Fame voters. It’s hard to get votes from baseball writers when you’re remembered for throwing ice cold water at one of their colleagues. (Photo: Topps 1980 Baseball Card)
~Walt Kinzie 1857 (White Stockings 1884)
Kinzie was a backup infielder for the 1884 Cubs (then known as the White Stockings). He had an uneventful big league career and finished with a .132 lifetime batting average. After his career ended, he settled in Chicago, and when he died in 1909, he was buried in Graceland Cemetery. At the time, the cemetery was just a few blocks away from a Lutheran Seminary. That seminary’s former location now houses Wrigley Field.
~Jim Kirby 1923 (Cubs 1949)
Kirby’s big league career lasted exactly twelve days. He celebrated his 26th birthday as a big leaguer with the Cubs. During those twelve days in May of 1949, Kirby got into three games. He went 1 for 2 in those limited opportunities, giving him a .500 career batting average. His only hit was a single against Reds pitcher Buddy Lively on May 13, 1949. The Cubs lost that game 7-0.
~Bill Kissinger (Cubs Fan)
Bill is a WGN-TV writer/producer but he’s also a lifelong Cub fan who has an amazing streak of being at Wrigley for momentous occasions. He attended (and can verify) attending one of Holtzman’s no-hitters, the Cubs/Phillies 23-22 game (attended with two people from England who couldn’t understand baseball), the Cubs 13-0 playoff game against San Diego in 1984, and the game Pete Rose drilled Lee Smith’s back into a double play. (Video below)
~Chris Kitsos 1928 (Cubs 1954)
Some players a cup of coffee in the show. Chris Kitsos only got a sip. He was a switch-hitting shortstop, but he languished in the minor leagues until April 21, 1954. On that day he finally got the call from the big club and was inserted as a defensive replacement for shortstop Eddie Miksis in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Braves in Milwaukee. Two of the Braves batters hit grounders to him, and he retired them both, including future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn. But he didn’t get a chance to bat in the top of the ninth inning, and he never appeared in another big league game.
~Malachi Kittridge 1869 (Colts 1890-1897)
When your given name is Malachi, your bound to acquire a nickname. Kittridge went by his middle name instead; the equally unwieldly Jedediah. Kittridge was the starting catcher for the Cubs (then known as the Colts) for much of the 1890s. He didn’t hit well (except for the fluky .315 he hit in 1894), but he was a solid defensive catcher. After leaving Chicago, he also caught for Louisville, Washington, Boston, and Cleveland before finally hanging up his spikes in 1906.
~Chuck Klein 1904 (Cubs 1934-1935)
Chuck Klein had two great nicknames: “The Hoosier Hammer” and “The Clouting Kraut”. The Hoosier part of his nickname came from his Indiana roots, and the Kraut part, of course, came from his German heritage. Needless to say, the hammer and clouting parts of those nicknames were inspired by his propensity to hit home runs. The Cubs got the big slugger just after he won the Triple Crown, the first time anyone had ever traded a Triple Crown winner. The Phillies obviously recognized that his stats were padded by playing in a ballpark with a ridiculously short right field porch. Once he joined the Cubs, he suffered a series of injuries. He drove in only 80 and 73 runs in his years spent with the Cubbies. On the other hand, Klein did help Chicago to a World Series in 1935, and hit .333 in that Series (the Cubs lost in six games to the Tigers). After he was traded back to the Phillies, he hit four home runs in his first game back. Ah, there’s nothing like a short right field porch. Chuck Klein was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1980, 22 years after his death.
This happened very shortly after he was traded back to the Phillies…
~Lou Klein 1918 (Cubs manager 1961-1962, 1965)
He played five years in the big leagues (mostly with the Cardinals), but he also got a chance to manage the Cubs. Lou was part of the rotation of coaches in the College of Coaches in 1961 and 1962. In that capacity he was 17-23, which wasn’t too bad for the Cubs of that era. He later got a chance to finish out the 1965 season as the Cubs manager, and finished ten games under .500. After the season he was replaced by Leo Durocher.
~Johnny Kling 1875 (Cubs 1900-1911)
Kling was one of the best catchers in baseball; a grizzled veteran who was so good defensively, he caused former catcher Frank Chance to move positions (to first base). Hall of Fame pitcher Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown often said that his secret weapon was Johnny Kling. Kling (nicknamed “Noisy” and “The Jew”) was loved by his teammates (because of his gritty attitude), loved by the umpires (because he didn’t swear, smoke or drink), and loved by the fans. He was the starting catcher for all four pennant winning teams in the first decade of last century (1906, 1907, 1908, 1910), and the pitchers claimed that his absence, and his absence alone, was the only reason the Cubs didn’t win five pennants in a row. Kling sat out the 1909 season to pursue and win the World Pockets Billiard Championship. After a salary dispute, the Cubs traded him in 1911. (Photo: 1909 Tobacco Card)
~Johnny Klippstein 1927 (Cubs 1950-1954)
Klippstein was a swing starter/reliever in his days with the Cubs. He has the distinction of winning the game at Wrigley Field on the same day and in the same town (July 1952 in Chicago) General Dwight D. Eisenhower was nominated to be president by the Republican Party. He beat the Brooklyn Dodgers that day. He later won the World Series as a member of the 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers (beating the Chicago White Sox). In his 18-year big league career, Johnny won 101 games, and saved 66 more.
~Joe Klugmann 1895 (Cubs 1921-1922)
Klugmann played in the minors for many years, but only had a few opportunities in the big leagues. He got his first shot with the Cubs in 1921. He was 26 years old at the time. In his two seasons in Chicago he only got into eight games. Klugmann later played for the Dodgers and Indians. He became a manager after his playing career was over.
~Joe Kmak 1963 (Cubs 1985)
Joe was a high school teammate of Barry Bonds, and eventually made it to the big leagues as a backup catcher. He had 53 at bats for the 1995 Cubs and hit .245. After his baseball career he went into teaching. He teaches high school calculus and trigonometry.
~Otto Knabe 1884 (Cubs 1916)
The incredibly German-sounding Otto Knabe was, of course, nicknamed Dutch. (That was common in those days–Dutch was an Americanized version of “Deutsch”). He had a very good eleven-year big league career mostly as a second baseman. Dutch was renowned for his abilty to handle the bat. He led the league in sacrifice hits four different times. By the time he joined the Cubs for their first season in Wrigley Field in 1916, he was coming off a stint as a player/manager in the Federal League. The Cubs traded the last link to their championship teams–Frank Schulte–to the Pirates to acquire Otto, and used him as a utility man. He saw time at 2B, SS, 3B, and RF, and retired from baseball after the season.
~Pete Knisely 1887 (Cubs 1913-1915)
Knisely was a teammate of Adams (above). He played outfield and second base for the Cubs. In 1915 he got his most extended playing time and drove in 17 runs, by far the best of his career. That was also his last season in the big leagues. He played another eight years in the minors.
~Darold Knowles 1941 (1975-1976)
After being acquired in the trade of Cub icon Billy Williams, Knowles became a mentor for a young Bruce Sutter in the bullpen for the Cubs. Knowles had been a key member of the bullpen for the Oakland A’s dynasty in the early 70s, but when he pitched for the Cubs in 1975, his command suddenly disappeared and was lit up like a Christmas tree (5.81 ERA). He had a much better season in 1976, but during the off-season he was traded to the Texas Rangers for Gene Clines. (Photo: Topps 1977 Baseball Card)
~Mark Koenig 1904 (Cubs 1932)
The ex-Yankee Mark Koenig replaced Cubs shortstop Billy Jurges after Jurges was shot by a fan. Despite hitting .353 during the season and saving the hides of the Cubs, the players voted not to give him a full World Series share. This really angered the Yankees, especially their emotional leader Babe Ruth. It was one of the reasons he wanted to beat the Cubs so badly in that 1932 World Series…and he did. Koenig played one more year for the Cubs in 1933, before finishing his career with the Reds and Giants.
~Elmer Koestner 1885 (Cubs 1914)
Elmer was a pitcher for several big league teams (including Cleveland and Cincinnati), but he also pitched for the Cubs briefly in 1914 at West Side Grounds. The ballpark was falling apart that year and more fans were going to see the Federal League Whales in what is now known as Wrigley Field. Elmer appeared in only four games before the Cubs cut him loose. His nickname was Bob.
~Cal Koonce 1940 (Cubs 1962-1967)
Cal won ten games for the Cubs as a rookie in 1962, and that’s saying something. That team won only 59 games all season. Over the next few seasons he started and relieved for the Cubs, never really achieving excellence in either role. His main problem was command of the strikezone. He won 29 games and saved 4 in his six years with the Cubs. He was traded to the Mets in 1967 and became a key part of the bullpen of the Mets team that broke the Cubs hearts in 1969.
~John Koronka 1980 (Cubs 2005)
Koronka came up from Iowa in 2005 and filled in for injured Cubs starters. It didn’t go well. He had a 7.47 ERA. He later pitched for the Rangers and the Marlins.
~Jim Korwan 1874 (Colts 1897)
The tall lanky lefthander was known to his teammates as Long Jim. He only started four games for the Cubs (then known as the Colts), but three of them were complete games. His control was the issue. He walked 28 men in those 34 innings. Among his teammates were future Hall of Famers Cap Anson and Clark Griffith. Long Jim died of tuberculosis at the age of 25, just six months before the turn of the century.
~Fabian Kowalik 1908 (Cubs 1935-1936)
Kowalik was a converted infielder who became a relief pitcher. He pitched for the Cubs in 1935 and 1936, and even made the postseason roster in 1935. Fabian pitched 4 1/3 innings in game 2 of the 1935 World Series against the Tigers, giving up only one run in relief of Charlie Root. The Cubs lost the game 8-3 (in Detroit). In 1936 he was traded to the Phillies along with Hall of Famer Chuck Klein for outfielder Ethan Allen and pitcher Curt Davis.
~Joe Kraemer 1964 (Cubs 1989-1990)
Kraemer was brought up for one spot start near the end of the division winning season of 1989, and then made the team the following year. The lefty pitched in eighteen games out of the bullpen before being sent back down to the minor leagues for good. His lifetime ERA was 6.91.
~Randy Kramer 1960 (Cubs 1990)
Kramer spent exactly one month in a Cubs uniform, September of 1990. He appeared in ten games for the Cubs, including two starts. The righthander had a respectable ERA (just a shade under 4), but he gave up three homers and walked twelve men in only 20 innings. The Cubs released him after the season. Kramer also pitched for the Pirates and Mariners.
~Ken Kravec 1951 (Cubs 1981-1982)
Kravec had been a 15-game winner for the White Sox just a few years before he was acquired by the Cubs in a rare crosstown trade (for Dennis Lamp). This one worked out for the Cubs, but not in the way you might expect. Kravec was terrible as a Cubs pitcher, going 2-7 in two full seasons, with an ERA over five. However, after his playing career ended, Ken went to work for the Cubs as a scout. He’s been a valuable member of their front office staff. (Photo: 1982 Topps Baseball Card)
.~Mike Kreevich 1908 (Cubs 1931)
Kreevich was a short guy (only 5’7″) but no-one would ever accuse him of being small. The former coal miner was strong as a bull. The Cubs were the first team that gave him a chance, but he only got into a handful of games for them in 1931. He didn’t really blossom until later in his career. He became an all-star with the White Sox in 1938, and also played with the Browns, A’s, and Senators.
~Mickey Kreitner 1922 (Cubs 1943-1944)
Mickey was just a 20-year-old kid when he came up the Cubs in the war year of 1943. The catcher didn’t get a lot of playing time with the Cubs that year, but did get into 39 games in 1944. Unfortunately for Mickey, he spent the entire pennant-winning 1945 season in the minors. He hung his up spikes when all the players who had been serving in the military returned from the war.
~Jim Kremmel 1948 (Cubs 1974)
He was the ninth overall pick of the draft in 1971, but by December of 1973, he was the player to be named later in the Ron Santo trade with the White Sox. Kremmel appeared in 23 games for the Cubs in 1974, his most extended time in the majors. His lifetime ERA was a disappointing 6.08.
~Bill Krieg 1859 (White Stockings 1885)
He played one game with Chicago, got three at bats, struck out twice, and made two errors as a catcher. Believe it or not, he did play another two years in the big leagues with Washington after that.
~Ray Kroc 1902 (Cubs fan 1902-1974)
He is one of the most famous entrepreneurs in history, the man who made the golden arches famous around the world, and he grew up in Oak Park–a die-hard Cubs fan. When he became a multi-millionaire he tried to rescue his favorite team from Wrigley family ownership, which he felt was ruining the team. He asked his good buddy George Halas to serve as intermediary with the Wrigley Family, to convince them to sell. At the time (this was the early 70s), Phillip K. Wrigley was a disinterested owner, barely paying attention to his team. Nevertheless, he refused to sell the Cubs to Kroc because he had made a deathbed pact with his father never to sell the team. Frustrated by his inability to buy his favorite team, Kroc settled on buying the San Diego Padres in 1974. He spent a fortune on the team and transformed them into a winner.When he died in January of 1984, the Padres pledged to dedicate the season to their beloved owner. If memory serves, that team did manage to make it all the way to the World Series that season. Unfortunately, the team they discarded on the side of the road on the way to that pennant was the team of Ray Kroc’s childhood: The Chicago Cubs.
~Gus Krock 1866 (White Stockings 1888-1889)
Gus was a shooting star too. Krock won 25 games for the Cubs in 1888 as a 22 year old rookie (7th best in the league), and was 8th in the league in strikeouts with 161. Unfortunately he also gave up 20 homers, second worst in baseball. He started the next season with the Cubs too (then known as the White Stockings), before being shipped off to Indianapolis. By 1890 he was out of baseball, and he died only 15 years later at the age of 38.
~Rube Kroh 1886 (Cubs 1908-1910)
His real name was Floyd Kroh, but Rube was a common nickname in the first half of last century, indicating that the player was a country boy. Rube Kroh certainly fit that description. He grew up in a small town in New York named Friendship. Kroh’s first season with the Cubs was 1908, which was, needless to say, a very memorable year. He also played a bit part in the most important play of that season. He may have led the Cubs to the World Series without throwing a single pitch. It was a single punch that did the job. During the melee in the “Merkle Boner” game on September 23, 1908, while the Giants fans stormed the field before the umpire had called the game over, it was Rube Kroh that “forcibly retrieved” the ball from a Giants fan, and threw it in to Johnny Evers. Evers stepped on second base, and the Cubs won the game because the “winning run” didn’t count. Fred Merkle hadn’t yet stepped on second. The game ended in a tie, and the Cubs went on to win the pennant. Kroh also happened to be a good pitcher, but on that Cubs team, he wasn’t good enough to get on the mound very often. In three seasons during the Cubs dynasty years, he won 14 games. They let him go after the 1910 season. (Photo: 1909 Tobacco Card)
~Chris Krug 1939 (Cubs 1965-1966)
Krug split the catching job with Vic Roznovsky in 1965, and the pair were probably the worst catcher tandem in all of baseball. Krug hit .201. The Cubs went out and got Randy Hundley from the Giants the following season, and Krug stayed on the team during Hundley’s rookie season. He later also played for Padres.
~Gene Krug 1955 (Cubs 1981)
To say the 29th round draft choice was a long shot to make it is an understatement, but Krug managed to defy the odds, and was called up to the show. His big league career consisted of exactly seven games in the 1981 (strike) season. He went 2 for 5 at the plate (both singles), giving him a lifetime big league average of .400.
~Marty Krug 1888 (Cubs 1922)
Krug was a German immigrant who came to this country as a child. He was a pretty good hitter, but was such a bad fielder that it kept him out of the big leagues for most of his baseball career. He came up for a cup of coffee in 1912, and didn’t return for an entire decade. The Cubs gave him lots of playing time in 1922 because they wanted his bat in the lineup. The infielder hit .276 and drove in 60 runs in 127 games. He also committed 21 errors, third worst total in the league. After his playing career, Krug went into coaching and scouting. He famously missed badly on one prospect. A kid he called “too fragile” eventually made it to the big leagues and did OK for himself. His name was Ted Williams.
~Mike Krukow 1952 (Cubs 1976-1981)
Mike Krukow shares a nickname with singer Bobby Vinton (The Polish Prince), but Mike Krukow was not known for botching the National Anthem. He was known for his stellar career as a starting pitcher for the Cubs, the Phillies and the Giants. He never quite managed to harness his wild streak while he was a Cub, so they traded him to the Phillies as part of the deal that brought Keith Moreland to the Cubs. Krukow didn’t really flourish until joining the Giants. He put it all together in the 1986 season, winning 20 games. He also pitched in the NLCS for the Giants the following year, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in his only start. After retirement The Polish Prince became a broadcaster for the San Francisco Giants, and he remains in that job today. (Photo: 1978 Topps Baseball Card)
Jerry Pritikin tells a story about Mike Krukow…
~Harvey Kuenn 1930 (Cubs 1965-1966)
Harvey came up as a shortstop and had a tremendous start to his career with the Tigers. He was the Rookie of the Year in 1953, and appeared in eight straight all-star games. By the time he came to the Cubs in the mid-60s, he was at the tail end of his career. By then he was a part-time outfielder. The Cubs traded him to the Phillies at the beginning of the 1966 season and Kuenn finished his career in Philadelphia. His career batting average was .303 and he only struck out 404 times in over 7600 big league plate appearances. After his playing days were over, Harvey went into managing. He’ll always be remembered in Milwaukee for leading the Brewers to their only American League pennant.
~Jeff Kunkel 1962 (Cubs 1992)
Kunkel was a successful utility man for the Rangers for several years. He played every position except catcher (including pitcher). The Cubs gave him his last shot in the big leagues when he was 30 years old in 1992. He had missed the entire 1991 season because of an injury. Kunkel didn’t have much left in the tank. He hit .138 in 29 at bats.
~Emil Kush 1916 (Cubs 1941-1949)
Emil was born in Chicago during the Cubs first season at Wrigley Field, played his entire big league career with the Cubs, and died a few months after they broke our hearts in 1969. Kush was a Chicago boy, through and through. The righthanded pitcher was a valuable member of the bullpen during the years after the war. Unfortunately for him, he missed the World Series season of 1945 because he was serving in the US Navy.