Okay, I grew up with the idea that Don Kessinger was a typical leadoff man. I suppose in the sixties, he sort of was. I’ve gotten past this of course but I’ve never forgotten the Kessinger-Beckert duo that lead off so many Cubs games.
Before Don K. got to the point where he was even considered for such a role, he batted eighth for the Cubs in 1965 and 1966. Looking at his ‘65 card, you can probably see why. In his first full year with the Cubs, he batted just .201 with only seven extra base hits in 336 plate appearances.
Now, I have long since come to terms with Kessinger’s bat issues but it’s the SS-7 that’s a little hard on the eyes. Kessinger upped it to a SS-8 by 1966.
I mentioned in my mid-June update that Kessinger is doing pretty well with the stick in my 1966 replay. It’ll be hard for this ‘65 card to match that. Don has a pretty nasty 51-13. He also has an interesting 31-39 which seems backwards; Kessinger was ahead of his time!
To recreate four doubles and three triples in 336 plate appearances, APBA gave him a single column 4. I was leafing through the ‘65 set last night and it seemed Seitz was a fan of the single column 4 that year. Some players even had two.
Kessinger’s ‘65 card has three 13s but he also has an inordinate amount of fly out numbers especially 30s. This makes me think he was used to bunt often that year. Actually, the 1965 stats don’t bear that out though. Just three times.
Finally, two Cubs fans (assumedly) voted for Don Kessinger for the Hall of Fame in 1985. Nice try.