August 30, 1898|
|Died: February 11, 1950
Ann Arbor, Michigan
|September 29, 1921, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 14, 1938, for the Brooklyn Dodgers|
|Runs batted in||1,065|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Election Method||Veterans Committee|
Hazen Shirley "Kiki" Cuyler (/ /; 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 and 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.
Cuyler was born in Harrisville, Michigan on August 30, 1898. 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.
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.
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.
In August 1925, Cuyler hit two inside-the-park home runs in a single game at Baker Bowl, the very compact baseball stadium in Philadelphia. 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.
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.
Later life and legacy
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 and Boston Red Sox during the 1940s, and was still active in the role for Boston in February 1950 when he died of a heart attack at the age of 51. His remains are interred in Harrisville, Michigan, and the bar he owned still operates under his name.
- List of Major League Baseball career hits leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career triples leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career runs scored leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career runs batted in leaders
- List of Major League Baseball career stolen bases leaders
- Hitting for the cycle
- List of Major League Baseball annual runs scored leaders
- List of Major League Baseball annual stolen base leaders
- List of Major League Baseball annual doubles leaders
- List of Major League Baseball annual triples leaders
- Major League Baseball titles leaders
- List of Major League Baseball single-game hits leaders
- "Kiki Cuyler". Baseball reference.com. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
- Waldo, Ronald T. (2012). Hazen Kiki Cuyler: A Baseball Biography. McFarland. pp. 5–6. ISBN 0786491329.
- "Kiki Cuyler Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
- O'Connor, Pat. "Bobby Murray". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
- "Cuyler, Kiki". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 24, 2013.
- "Kiki Cuyler". Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved August 24, 2013.