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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Kong: Dave Kingman

Dave Kingman was known for his ability to crush long towering home runs, a poor glove, and an abrasive personality. Kingman was drafted by the San Francisco Giants out of USC (University of Southern California) in 197. He made his Major League debut in 1971 with his first full season in 1972, a strike delayed season, he hit for the cycle on the second game of the season (April 16, 1972). Kingman would hit 29 home runs that season with 83 RBI, but he would finish with a sub par slash line of .225/.303/.478 which would become indicative of what was to come in his career.

His offensive numbers continued to dip over the next two seasons. The Giants gave up on Kingman as a third baseman after making 12 errors in only 59 chances in 1974. His run production had slipped from his rookie campaign. He hit only 18 home runs with 55 RBI, and a slash line  of .223/.302/.440. He would be traded to the New York Mets after the 1974 season. 

In New York, he was moved to the outfield where he put up career high in 1975 in home runs with 36 and RBI with 88. During the 1976 season on June 4th, he would hit three home runs in an 11-0 thumping of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He would accomplish this feat five times in his career. He also set a new high in home runs during the season with 37. 
The 1977 was a poor season for Kingman, who was traded to the San Diego Padres, and after performing poorly was waived and claimed by the California Angels on September 6th. Only nine days later he was shipped to the New York Yankees. He is one of the few players in Major League history to play for four teams in the same season.

In 1978, he would sign as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs.  He would hit 28 home runs and drive in 79 runs in his first year on the north side of Chicago. He followed it up by having the best year of his career hitting 48 home runs driving in 115 with the best slash line of his career at .288/.343/.613.  He was named to the National League all-star team for the second time in his career. He was an all-star with the Mets in 1976, and would be named an all-star with the Mets again in 1982. The Cubs tiring of Kingman's personality traded the outfielder back to the New York Mets.

In his last six seasons he hit thirty or more home runs four times. Including the last three seasons with the Oakland A's. Despite hitting 35 home runs with 94 RBI , he wasn't offered a contract. Despite lofty home run totals Kingman was plagued by a poor slash his entire career finishing .236/.302/.478. He hit 442 home runs in his career with 1210 RBI. He became the first hitter with more than 400 home runs not to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He was entertainment on many mediocre teams in New York, Chicago, and Oakland.

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