Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Sunday, October 3, 2010

1976 Topps #574 - Don Kessinger


  • Don Kessinger played with the Chicago Cubs for what seemed like forever. This is an obvious airbrush job to show Don's trade to the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • Kessinger was signed by the Cubs in 1964. Don played 77 games in AA and was brought up for a look in September. Kessinger went 2 for 12 (.167) in four games for the Cubs in '64.
  • Don was in AA again for the first two  months of the 1965 season. Kessinger came back to the Cubs to stay in early June and batted .201 in 106 games.
  • Kessinger ended up being a very durable player for the Cubs in the next ten seasons. He played in at least 145 games each year from 1966-1975. Don usually batted somewhere around .250 each season with little power. He did hit 38 doubles in 1969 and 14 triples in 1970, but he never had a slugging percentage above .351.
  • Don won the NL Gold Glove in 1969 and 1970 and received minor MVP consideration in both of those seasons. Don Kessinger - Is He Best Shortstop in the Majors? - October 1969 Baseball Digest.
  • Kessinger made the NL All Star team six times:
    • 1968 - starting shortstop (0 for 2)
    • 1969 - starting shortstop (0 for 3)
    • 1970 - starting shortstop (2 for 2)
    • 1971 - shortstop (0 for 2)
    • 1972 - starting shortstop (0 for 2)
    • 1974 - shortstop (1 for 1, 3B, run scored, RBI)
  • After the 1975 season Don was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Mike Garman and a minor leaguer. Kessinger played in 145 games, making it 11 years in a row of more than 145 games played. 
  • In 1977 the Cardinals came up with a .322-hitting rookie shortstop named Garry Templeton. Kessinger started the season with the Cards as a utility player (.239 in 59 games). On August 20 Don was traded to the Chicago White Sox for a  minor leaguer. Kessinger batted .235 in 39 games to finish the 1977 season.
  • Don was the regular shortstop for the White Sox in 1978 and batted .255 in 131 games. He also earned the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in '78.
  • Kessinger became a player-manager in 1979. Don Kessinger: Baseball's Newest Player-Manager - January 1979 Baseball Digest. He batted .200 in 110 at bats and his final game as a player was on July 31 (he retired on August 2 and resigned as manager on the same day). Tony LaRussa was Don's replacement as Chicago manager.
  • After his retirement Don operated insurance and real estate businesses in Oxford, Mississippi. Kessinger coached the University of  Mississippi baseball team from 1991-1996  and helped out with the team from 1997-2000.
  • Don's son Keith Kessinger had a brief major league career in 1993.
  • Liked to face: Bob Gibson (.326 in 135 AB); Buzz Capra (.533 in 12 AB); Joe Moeller (.529 in 17 AB)
  • Hated to face: Al Hrabosky (.000 in 14 AB); John Montefusco (.059 in 17 AB); Jim Ray (.100 in 20 AB)

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1 comment:

  1. Don also did some color analyst work for college basketball teams. An extremely nice fellow.

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