Joe Cunningham

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For other people named Joe Cunningham, see Joe Cunningham (disambiguation).
Joe Cunningham
Joe Cunningham 1960.png
Cunningham in 1960.
First baseman / Right fielder
Born: (1931-08-27) August 27, 1931 (age 84)
Paterson, New Jersey
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
June 30, 1954, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
April 17, 1966, for the Washington Senators
MLB statistics
Batting average .291
Home runs 64
Runs batted in 436
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Joseph Robert Cunningham, Jr. (born August 27, 1931) is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) first baseman and outfielder who played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1954; 1956–61), Chicago White Sox (1962–64), and Washington Senators (1964–66). He batted .291 with 980 hits over 1,141 career games and was a two-time MLB All-Star in a 12-year career. The native of Paterson, New Jersey, threw and batted left-handed, and was listed as 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and 180 pounds (82 kg).

In his first four MLB games, in 1954, Cunningham became the first Cardinals player to hit at least two home runs. On April 6, 2016, Jeremy Hazelbaker matched him for this feat.[1]

The best season for Cunningham was in 1959, when he led the National League in on-base percentage at .453 and batted .345 to finish second to Hank Aaron for the NL batting title.

Cunningham was traded from the Cardinals to the Chicago White Sox after the 1961 season in exchange for long-time star Minnie Miñoso. Although his first season as the White Sox first baseman was successful, Cunningham would never fully recover from a broken collarbone suffered in a collision on June 3, 1963. After his playing career, Cunningham returned to the Redbirds from 1968–71 to manage in their farm system at the Class A level. Retrosheet lists him as a coach for the MLB Cardinals in 1982.[2]

His son, Joe III, who played in the minor leagues during the 1980s, also has worked as a batting instructor and manager in the Cardinals' farm system.

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