Wow… I just finished reading an amazing article about a former New York Met, that I really knew very little about. It was by Joe Posnanski at SI.com, who gave me a whole new perspective on Dave Kingman.
I’m sure many of you have heard about the exploits of Dave Kingman at one time or another. In fact, if you listened to most Mets games on the radio like I used to, you would have heard the dearly departed, Bob Murphy wax on about Kingman just about every time a player hit a monster homerun at Shea Stadium. Bob called him Sky King, while everyone else knew Kingman as Kong.
A few years ago, I was at my uncle’s house and he had a bunch of junk scattered all over the floor and table as he was cleaning out his junk room in the basement. One item immediately caught my eye. It was a 1982 NY Mets Official Scorebook and you know there was no way in hell that I was leaving his house without that scorebook that night.
It had a big picture of Dave Kingman right on the cover along with three smaller shots of him swinging for the fences, and crossing home plate.
The first thing that struck me was that in the larger picture he was wearing a first baseman’s glove, and I always thought he was strictly a corner outfielder. It turns out after looking him up, that he played strictly first base for the Mets in 1982 and made 18 errors.
Kingman also did something else in 1982 that still has never been repeated in baseball…
He was the only player to lead the league in homeruns without hitting his weight. That season, Kingman went on to hit 37 homers, while hitting a paltry .204.
Anyway, that night my uncle told me a few cool stories about Kingman who he called “the worst and most exciting hitter the Mets have ever had”.
One of the interesting things I learned from reading Joe’s article tonight, was that pitchers were doomed if they dared to insult the mighty Kong.
Kingman hit .407 with 11 homers in 64 plate appearances when the player ahead of him was intentionally walked.
Check out the article by Joe Posnanski of SI.com, and let me know what you think.
And if you have any Dave Kingman memories or stories of your own, do tell.