Kiki Cuyler

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Kiki Cuyler
KikiCuylerGoudeycard.jpg
Right fielder
Born: (1898-08-30)August 30, 1898
Harrisville, Michigan
Died: February 11, 1950(1950-02-11) (aged 51)
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 29, 1921, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
September 14, 1938, for the Brooklyn Dodgers
MLB statistics
Batting average.321
Hits2,299
Home runs128
Runs batted in1,065
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction1968
Election MethodVeterans Committee

Hazen Shirley "Kiki" Cuyler (/ˈkˈk ˈklər/; August 30, 1898 – February 11, 1950) was a Major League Baseball right fielder from 1921 until 1938 who later was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cuyler established a reputation as an outstanding hitter with great speed. He regularly batted .350 or higher and finished with a .321 lifetime batting average. In 1925 Cuyler hit 18 home runs with 102 RBI. Cuyler's Pirates won the World Series that year, the only time in his career that he contributed to a World Series winner.

Early life[edit]

Cuyler was born in Harrisville, Michigan on August 30, 1898.[1] He was one of six children born to George and Anna Cuyler. His father had come to the United States from Canada, but his ancestors lived in New York from the 17th century until they moved to Canada at the start of the Revolutionary War.[2]

Career[edit]

Cuyler started his professional baseball career with the Bay City Wolves in 1920. He appeared briefly in the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates over the next three seasons, but still spent the majority of each season in the minor leagues. He hit .340 in 1923 for the Nashville Vols of the Southern Association. He was promoted to the Pirates for his first full major league season in 1924.[3]

Two explanations have been given for the origin of Cuyler's nickname, "Kiki". In the first version, he had been known as "Cuy" for a long time. When a fly ball was hit to the Nashville outfield and it was judged to be Cuyler's play, the shortstop would call out "Cuy" and this call would be echoed by the second baseman. The echoed name caught on with Nashville's fans. In the second explanation, "Kiki Cuyler" came from the player's stuttering problem and the way it sounded when Cuyler said his own last name.[4]

He became the only player in MLB history to hit for the cycle, get a walk and steal a base in one game on June 4, 1925. Later that year in August, Cuyler hit two inside-the-park home runs in a single game at Baker Bowl, the very compact baseball stadium in Philadelphia.[5] Cuyler led the 1925 Pirates to a World Series title, the only one of his career. In 1927, Cuyler was benched for nearly half the season because of a dispute with first-year manager Donie Bush. The Pirates again went to the World Series, but Cuyler did not play. That November, Cuyler was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Sparky Adams and Pete Scott. Between 1926 and 1930, the 1927 season was the only time that Cuyler did not lead the league in stolen bases.[6]

Between 1931 and his retirement in 1938, Cuyler never stole more than 16 bases in a season. Though he hit for a .338 batting average and a league-leading 42 doubles in 1934, Cuyler was made a free agent by July 1935. He signed with the Cincinnati Reds, hitting .326 in 1936 and .271 in 1937. He was released after the 1937 season and signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers for his final season in 1938. Cuyler finished his career with a .321 batting average, 128 home runs, 1065 RBI and 328 stolen bases.[6] He hit over .300 10 times in his major league career.

Later life and legacy[edit]

Plaque of Kiki Cuyler at the Baseball Hall of Fame

After the end of his playing career, Cuyler managed in the minor leagues, winning the regular-season Southern Association pennant in 1939 under Joe Engel with the Chattanooga Lookouts, with one of the only fan-owned franchises in the nation. He was a coach for the Cubs (1941–43) and Boston Red Sox (1949), and was still active in the role for Boston in February 1950 when he died of a heart attack at the age of 51.[7] His remains are interred in Saint Anne Cemetery in Harrisville Township, Michigan.

Cuyler was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968. In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time.[8]

In Harrisville, the restaurant he owned operated as Ki Cuyler's Bar & Grill until it burned down in December 2018.[9] In 2008, State Highway M-72 within Alcona County was named the "Hazen Shirley 'Kiki' Cuyler Memorial Highway".[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kiki Cuyler". Baseball reference.com. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
  2. ^ Waldo, Ronald T. (2012). Hazen Kiki Cuyler: A Baseball Biography. McFarland. pp. 5–6. ISBN 0786491329.
  3. ^ "Kiki Cuyler Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  4. ^ O'Connor, Pat. "Bobby Murray". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  5. ^ "Cuyler, Kiki". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Kiki Cuyler". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
  7. ^ "Hazen 'Kiki' Cuyler Dies In Ambulance While Enroute To Ann Arbor Hospital". Hartford Courant. Hartford, Connecticut. AP. February 12, 1950. Retrieved October 29, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
  8. ^ Ritter, Lawrence; Honig, Donald (1981). The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. Crown Publishing Group. ASIN B002XGBODQ.
  9. ^ The Alpena News (December 1, 2018). "A legend lost: Ki Cuyler's destroyed by early morning fire". Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  10. ^ Waldo, Ronald T. (2012). Hazen 'Kiki' Cuyler: A Baseball Biography. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. p. 238. ISBN 9780786491322. OCLC 812174493. Retrieved October 29, 2017 – via Google Books.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Del Baker
Boston Red Sox third-base coach
1949
Succeeded by
Steve O'Neill
Preceded by
Goose Goslin
Hitting for the cycle
June 4, 1925
Succeeded by
Max Carey