- Hit one Grand Slam in 1973.
- Hit .364 with 4 HRs vs. Philadelphia in 1973.
- Home Run tally: 5 vs. Chicago; 4 vs. Atlanta & Philadelphia; 3 vs. San Diego; 2 vs. Houston, New York & St. Louis; 1 vs. Los Angeles & Montreal.
- Played six weeks of winter ball in Puerto Rico at the end of 1973.
- In early May, made his first of two pitching apprearances of the season, pitching for 2 innings in a Reds blowout of the Giants. In 2 innings, gave up 1 hit, 4 walks and 2 runs while striking out 1.
- On May 13, made his final pitching apprearance of the season, pitching the last 2 innings in a 15-3 Dodgers blowout of the Giants. In 2 innings, gave up 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 runs while striking out 3.
- Received four stiches in May after a bad bounce off the bat of Pittsburgh's Bob Robertson hit him in the face.
by: BOB STEVENS, San Francisco Chronicle
April 7, 1973
DAVE KINGMAN, home run (29) and runs batted in (83) leader of the Giants last summer and the number one third base candidate this spring, is returning to his first love--pitching.
The king--sized Kingman, 6-6, 210-pound native of Pendleton,, Ore., will be registered in the National League office in San Francisco today as a pitcher by manager Charlie Fox.
The possible full-time conversion of the former USC trojan an outfielder- third-baseman-first baseman to pitcher was disclosed yesterday in Riverfront Stadium where the Giants indulged in a sun-splashed workout in preparation for today's rematch with the resident reds.
Before a player can take to the mound he must be registered as a pitcher, a device demanded by the rules to prevent managers from making a farce out of games obviously lost by sending in ill-equipped infielderd, catcher and outfielders to the pitching rubber.
Transformations of this type are not particularly a rarity in, baseball. Cincinnati great Bucky Walters started out in life as a third baseman. Cleveland's Bob Lemon was an outfielder before turning to the mound. A few years ago, Rocky Colovito of Cleveland came out of the outfield to pitch against--and defeat the Yankees.
SEVERAL YEARS AGO, little Matty Alou then a Giant outfielder, worked three inning from the mound and among his achievements were strikeouts of Willie Stargell and Don Clendenon.
Giants' pitching coach Don McMahon, who studied Kingman from behind the, cage yesterday as Dave worked a full, sweat-dripping round of batting practice, said he saw no reason why the 24-year-old former USC righthander can not successfully survive the metamorphosis.
"Dave throws hard, has a great mine and a slider that darts away from the hitters," said McMahon.
Kingman, who was 12-4 in college before being changed Into an outfielder because of his destructive bat, said, "I'd like to do it all--pitch AND play third or first or the outfield. This sitting around doing nothing isn't for me."
Originally, Kingman this spring was to have (a) retained his incumbency at third and-or (b) back up Willie McCovey at first. Both Alan Gallagher (.412) and Ed Goodson (.220) beat out Dave for third base and McCovey (.375) performed so well so often that Kingman (.229) had few opportunities to back up big "Stretch."
KINGMAN, who played only 165 games in the minors before making it to the majors in '71, was second to Cincinnati's Johnny Bench in home runs (21) and RBI's (58) on July 15 last summer and then severely sprained an ankle sliding into third base against the Phillies.
Additionally, Dave, amazingly agile for so large a man, stole 16 bases in 22 attempts before the ankle slowed him to a pace he has not yet managed to reestablish.
"Naturally," said Kingman yesterday, "I'm not happy being on the bench. It is an entirely new experience for me. I've never ridden the bench before. If going back to pitching will get me off it, fine. But I'd rather play infield or outfield.
"I understand why I'm not playing, too. Nearly every guy on the club had great springs. I had a bad one."
Kingman really is something to see when he's working from the mound. He comes at you in a flurry of kicking legs, swaying shoulders, jutting hips and flailing arms. And, at 6-6, by the time he's finished with all that and completes his delivery and follow through he's almost in the batter's lap.
by: WELLS TWOMBLY, San Francisco Examiner
April 10, 1973
It is difficult to say angry things about a guy who opens the season with three victories in his first four games. Charlie is a fine person, a trifle self-protective and given to living firmly in the past. He gets the damndest ideas in his head. He has a man named Dave Kingman who hit 29 home runs last year despite the fact that he has no clear idea of where the strike zone is located. Here is a natural first baseman, guaranteed to be an excellent replacement for Willie McCovey. In the meantime, Kingman should be playing left while he receives hitting instruction.
Instead Charlie puts him at third base for awhile and mutters about making a pitcher out of him. It would shock no one to see Fox throw catching equipment in Kingman's locker. There are times when the Giants manager acts as if he has fallen down a rabbit hole and dwells now in Wonderland. If the customers don't show up even though the ball club wins, it will be interesting to see how Horace Stoneham reacts. There is a rumor, unfounded, that Charlie already has a two year renewal on his contract. If attendance falters you can probably blame it on Alan Gallagher or Dave Kingman or the Easter Bunny.
by: PAT FRIZZELL, The Sporting News
May 5, 1973
SAN FRANCISCO--Dave Kingman doesn't want to be a pitcher, but he's willing to try when asked.
The 6-6 slugger's major league mound debut, his first pitching appearance since he was a university of Southern California sophomore in 1969, was well received by a large Candlestick Park crowd.
The fans, in fact, gave, Kingman an ovation after each of his two innings. It was on an afternoon when they had little else to cheer about, for the Giants lost twice to the Reds.
"I'M A HITTER, not a pitcher," said big Dave after holding the Reds to two runs on one hit a double by Cesar Geronimo--and four walks.
"Charlie Fox had mentioned a couple of innings earlier that he might send me in to pitch, but I was surprised when he told me to warm up. I didn't think it would happen.
"I was happy to help out in a one-sided game. I actually enjoyed myself. But full-time pitching is completely out for me, There are other guys on the team to do that.
"I'm just trying to earn a spot in the lineup. If I can't play every day, I'll go out and fool around on the mound.
"If pitching interferes in any way with my hitting or playing, I'll stop it.
Kingman fired mostly fast balls, but tried his slider and curve, He has pitched some in practice recently--but not in a game since he compiled a 12-4 record in USC. He originally was a pitcher in high school, Legion and semi-pro ball.
by: BOB STEVENS, San Francisco Chronicle
May 14, 1973
...and Dave Kingman made his second appearance as a pitcher in the majors, striking out three in two innings, displaying a dazzling change-up and yielding two runs to a soft single, a walk and a wild pitch that was heading in the direction of Hawaii before it crashed high up on the backstop.
Commentary by: GLENN HICKEY, San Francisco Chronicle
August 3, 1973
IF THERE IS a stranger case in I baseball right now than Dave Kingman, I don't know about it. He's either the next Henry Aaron or the next Clint Hartung, and the Giants are caught in the middle, reluctant to either trade him or play him.
There is no doubt Kingman has been offered around the league by the Giants, who know they are at least one pitcher away from winning the pennant. But they want to trade Kingman on the basis of what he could do, and other clubs want to trade for him on the basis of what he is doing. There is a considerable difference.
Kingman's problems are not all his own doing. It is not easy to break into the Giant lineup, which is the strongest in the league if you don't count that position halfway between home plate and second base.
The three positions Kingman has played are left field, third base and first base. In left field Gary Matthews is hitting over .300 and is a leading Rookie-of-the-Year contender; at third base, Ed Goodson seems to he the kind of hitter who could hit .300 year after year, and at first, Willie McCovey is still one of the most feared hitters in the league, though his manager isn't always convinced.
And even if McCovey retires in the near future, it wouldn't be easy for Kingman because Goodson would probably be switched to first base, and Kingman has not distinguished himself at third base, where he would have to play.
BUT IF KINGMAN had played up to his potential, he'd be in there somewhere. At times, it seems he could be a super player. He has excellent speed for a big man. and is perhaps as fast as Bobby Bonds, Garry Maddox and Matthews.
And how he can hit--when he hits. He can hit the ball 400 feet off the handle, and his line drives go whistling through the infield, with a speed which reminds me of some of McCovey's.
Unfortunately. those hits, whether home runs or singles, happen too infrequently. Kingman has trouble with the high inside fast ball and he can be made to chase a low outside curve, and he strikes out more than a third of his times at bat.
At times, he looks helpless at the plate, and those times have come more and more frequently in the last year. He hit 21 homers through the middle of July last year and only eight the rest of the way. In part, that was because he hurt his ankle sliding, but it was mostly because the pitchers learned his weak spots.
HIS PERSONALITY has not helped him, either, He is a very moody young man, prone to get down on himself when he falls short of perfection. I remember a time in St. Louis last year in June when he hit one of those 450-foot homers but was upset because he had later popped up a pitch he felt he should have hit just as far. Even worse, he seems unwilling to take advice from anybody.
So, what can be done? In the circumstances, I can hardly blame Charlie Fox for not playing him. Though Kingman feels he should be playing, his performance does not merit it. Fox has certainly given him every chance.
Ten years ago, the solution would have been simple: Send him down to the Pacific Coast League where he could play every day and work on his hitting weaknesses. But the Coast League is a joke now. In 1971, Kingman had a whopping 60 extra base hits in 106 games there. There is nothing he could learn in the league now.
THE GIANTS WILL probably be forced to trade Kingman in the off-season, because the chances that he will ever do anything here seem remote. But I have this recurring nightmare anout Kingman hitting 53 homers for another club. I'm sure the Giants think about that too.
September 6, 1973
The Giants' Dave Kingman has been named National League Player of the Week by league President Chub Feeney.
Kingman, a part-time performer most of the season, got his chance at a regular job when third baseman Ed Goodson split his thumb two weeks ago.
From Aug. 27-Sept. 2 the 6-6 210-pounder banged five homers, knocked in eight runs in seven games and hit safely eight times in 24 trips for a .333 average.
by: PAT FRIZZELL, The Sporting News
September 22, 1973
SAN FRANCISCO--Dave Kingman. may have turned the corner.
The Giants' 6-6 slugger has spent much of this season on the bench, but late in August he began hammering home runs, the way he did in 1971 and '72.
"I'm trying to make up for losing about three-quarters of the season," Kingman said. "I'm trying to forget about all the frustrations I had earlier in the year and go out and do a job."
The powerful University of Southern California alumnus did such an effective job from August 27 to September 2 that he won recognition as National League Player of the Week.
IN THAT week, Kingman belted five home runs, drove in eight runs and had a .333 batting average. He continued right on from there, smacking his seventh homer in 10 games against the Dodgers September 4.
Here was a potentially outstanding player who hadn't hit safely in August until he singled and then homered against the Mets in New York August 26. Most of the time, Kingman had been chained to the bench. When he got into a game, he tended to press and frequently struck out.
"The big thing is to play regularly and know you're going to be in the lineup," Dave said. Kingman particularly enjoyed playing regularly, at third base, against the Dodgers.
"It's the first time this year I've played regularly against the Dodgers," he said while the Giants were sweeping a three-game series. Kingman wasn't satisfied with giving only the Dodgers trouble. The 24-year-old slugger was out, he said, "to salvage something" from this season.
"I'VE BEEN pushing myself," he explained, "because I lost so much time. I feel I proved myself last year (when he hit 29 home runs), but I want to improve. When I got back into the lineup late in August, I set my goal at 20 home runs. I'm just trying to hit the ball hard, not necessarily out of the park.
"Coach Hank Sauer has helped me on fundamentals and on getting back to my good, basic swing. I'm trying to keep my swing more level than it was, avoid uppercutting, but I'm still swinging just as hard."
Sauer, the Giants' batting expert, was pleased with Kingman's return to form, commenting: "Dave is watching the ball better now, concentrating more on it. He isn't turning his head the way he had been. He's flattening out his swing."
by: PAT FRIZZELL, San Francisco Chronicle
September 22, 1973
SEVERAL WEEKS AGO, I posed the question whether Dave Kingman was another Hank Aaron or another Clint Hartung. Kingman's homer spree earlier this month has erased my doubts, and I would hope those of the Giants. Kingman may not be an other Aaron--who is?--but he certainly resembles Aaron more than Hartung, that monumental flop.
Kingman's streak proved that his early season performance in 1972 was not just a fluke. It was easy to surmise, since Kingman tailed off so badly in 1972 (after being injured), that the pitchers had caught up with him. But when he got a chance to play regularly, following Ed Goodson's injury,- wondrous things started happening.
When Kingman was playing only on rare occasions, as he was for most of the season, he was swinging the bat pathetically. It seemed that he was simply being fooled, but it now appears that he had merely suffered a loss of confidence because of his infrequent appearances, that he Xmas fearful of striking out and had become a safety-first hitter.
DAVE KINGMAN should not be a safety-first hitter. In the best of circumstances, he is going to strike out a lot. Power hitters usually do. Bobby Bonds, for all his brilliance still strikes out frequently. You have to accept that in a free-swinger.
It's safe to say that Kingman will never be a high average hitter. He'll probably always be a streak hitter, and there will be weeks when he won't get a base hit. But when he's on one of his good streaks, he'll win a lot of games. He has the kind of power to hit 50 home runs or more in a season.
And fortunately, he is not just a power hitter, a Frank Howard type who kills you when he's anywhere but at the plate. He's fast and a good baserunner who should get better.
The Giants have tried him in the outfield, third base, first base, (and even pitching) and he has done a creditable job everywhere. He has made some brilliant plays at first base and I think that is his best position, but he likes third, and he might wind up there.
THERE IS ANOTHER compelling reason the Giants must play him: He could be the gate attraction they so sorely need. Fans come out to see extraordinary ballplayers, and Kingman, for all his flaws, is that kind of player.
Finding a spot for him in the lineup has been a problem because the Giants are loaded with class players everywhere but on the mound. But the problem may be eased by next season.
It seems clear they'll have to trade McCovey in the off season, unless the National League decides to go with the designated hitter rule (which I doubt, because the NL owners are too proud to admit the American League is on to something good). I hate to say that, because McCovey has always been one of my favorites, but Willie's frequent injuries have slowed him in the field, and he cannot be depended on to play every day. The Giants need a good pitcher more than they need McCovey now.
Let us offer a silent prayer that the Giants will not make the kind of deal with McCovey they've been making recently.
IF McCOVEY IS traded, Goodson could be shifted to first base, his natural position and one that would put less strain on his legs. That would leave room for Kingman at third. Or, the Giants could leave Goodson at third and put Kingman on at first.
At any rate, they've got to find a spot for him. There was some excuse for wasting him this season, but there can be none if the procedure is repeated next year.
Press excerpts Copyright 1973 San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, The Sporting News
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