|Kansas City Royals|
February 4, 1955 |
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|September 1, 1979 for the Chicago White Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 24, 1985 for the Detroit Tigers|
|Runs batted in||38|
|Career highlights and awards|
Russell Jay "Rusty" Kuntz (pron.: //; born February 4, 1955) is a retired American Major League Baseball designated hitter and outfielder. He currently serves as the first base coach of the Kansas City Royals.
An alumnus of California State University, Stanislaus, Kuntz was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 11th round of the 1977 MLB amateur draft. He then spent two seasons in the minor leagues. Kuntz made his Major League Baseball debut with the White Sox on September 1, 1979. After being used sparingly by the Sox for four seasons, Kuntz was traded to the Minnesota Twins, then to the Detroit Tigers after the 1983 season. In 1984, while still with Detroit, Kuntz had the best numbers of his career: a .286 average and a .393 on-base percentage, although he appeared in only 84 games, mostly as a pinch-hitter and fourth outfielder.
In the fifth and deciding game of the 1984 World Series against the San Diego Padres, Kuntz pinch-hit for designated hitter Johnny Grubb with the bases loaded and the score tied at three. Kuntz hit a pop-up to short right field that Tony Gwynn was unable to see ("I lost the ball in the sky", he later admitted). Second baseman Alan Wiggins made the catch, but was unable to prevent Kirk Gibson from racing home from third with the go-ahead run. The Tigers never trailed after that, giving Kuntz an unlikely game-winning RBI. Kuntz returned to the Tigers in 1985 but appeared in just five games (last on April 24, 1985) before being sent back to the minors. After batting just .222 for AAA Nashville, Kuntz retired as a player.
Since his retirement, Kuntz has served as a special assistant to Dayton Moore, general manager of the Kansas City Royals. He also served as the first base coach of the Seattle Mariners, Florida Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Kansas City Royals.
- Dutton, Bob (4 August 2012). "Royals fire coach Sisson, bring back Kuntz to fill vacancy". kansascity.com. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- Kaegel, Dick (September 15, 2010). "Jirschele taking over as KC's first-base Rusty is the man coach". MLB.com. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
- "Rusty Kuntz". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Page at Baseball Almanac (inc. MLB Stats)
- Page at Sports Illustrated