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Dave Kingman
1975 - New York Mets

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1976 Trading Cards
1976 Topps Card #40
1976 Topps

1976 SSPC Card #542
1976 SSPC

1976 Hostess Card #15
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1976 Crane Potato Chips Disc
1976 Crane Potato
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1975 Season Notes & Press Clippings
- Dave's contract was sold by the San Francisco Giants for $125,000 to the New York Mets on February 28, 1975.
- Dave had hoped to be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the Dodgers couldn't come up with an acceptable player in return. At the time, a Dodger source said that Dave would have been optioned to AAA Albuquerque for a year for seasoning.
- On July 28, Dave was named NL Player-of-the-Week on the strength of 7 homers, 14 RBIs and a .353 average during a 12-game period from July 17-27 (post All-Star break).
- Set new record for home runs in a season by a New York Met, surpassing the mark set by Frank Thomas in 1962 (35 homers).
- Homered against every N.L. Club and had 20 Game Winning Hits.
- Wore #4 in Spring Training, #26 during the season for the Mets in 1975.
- Hit his 100th Career Home Run in 1975.
- Worked as a sales representative in the New York area for United Airlines in the off-season.
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Stoneham Defends Sale Of Kingman
San Jose Mercury
March 1, 1975
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. - Dave Kingman got his wish Friday and the Giants had their third base aspirants sliced by one.
Kingman, who had asked general--manager Jerry Donovan to trade him, instead was sold to the, New York Mets for something above the $20,000 waiver price, perhaps as much as $100,000.
"The deal wasn't made for money," said owner Horace Stoneham. "He wasn't happy here and we don't want him if he doesn't' have a complete desire to be with us."
Manager Wes Westrum had figured on giving Kingman first crack at the third base job this spring, but now, the starter probably will come from a list that includes Mike Phillips, Bruce Miller, Glen Redmon and Tom Heintzelman.
The latter was obtained in the deal with St. Louis during the off- season.
There also is talk of moving All-Star shortstop Chris Speier to third and trading for a shortstop. But if the Giants couldn't get a third baseman, how can they expect to get a shortstop where there seem to be few good ones around?
Speier has volunteered to play third, but that would just mess up shortstop, so little would be gained.
The Giants, according to Stoneham, tried to get a pitcher from the Mets in the Kingman deal. "But they said they couldn't afford to disrupt their pitching staff" said Horace. That makes sense.
The Giants' boss, in announcing the deal, also said his club had a four- player swap all worked out with an American League club but the recent rejection of an extra inter-league trading period, which would have been from March 15-31, killed that deal.
So, for the 6-6, 210-pound Kingman the Mets had to give up only money, something the Mets are deep in and something the Giants are known to be in need of.
New York general manager Joe McDonald said the Mets were willing, two seasons ago, to trade southpaw pitcher Jerry Koosman for Kingman even up.
"But they wanted Jon Matlack instead," McDonald said. "so we turned down the deal." The $100.000 figure was not confirmed by McDonald.
"That's not the exact figure." he advised. "But you won't be embarrassed using it.
Kingman. who whacked 77 homers but fanned more than nine times for every one he hit in 3 Ĺ years as a Giant, obviously was happy to be sold.
Met manager Yogi Berra has seen Kingman plan, third (Dave also played, the outfield and first base and even pitched a bit for the Giants). "What I saw of him at third." said Berra emphatically. "I didn't like.
"But he gives us a pretty good guy on the bench and he's insurance in the outfield if Cleon Jones can't do the job." Jones will be coming, back after a knee operation.
Kingman, 26, hit 18 home runs and drove in. 55 runs last season, also striking out 125 times in 121 games while batting .223, a point under his career average. Those 125 strikeouts came in only 350 official times at bat.
Kingman, who had said he doesn't want to play any position except first base, will not wrest that position from Met regular John Milner. Although the fact Kingman hits right-handed might lead to Berra using him for the left-handed swinging Milner against superior left-handed pitching.
Of his uncertain stature with the Mets, Kingman said, "That's okay. I'm aware of the competition. Nothing should be handed to anybody. You have to earn it."
Why didn't he feel that way with the Giants?
"The Mets have some very fine veteran players on their club. The Giants do not."
One of those Met veterans, the sole original Met on the club Ed Kranepoo1, said what many felt, perhaps.
"I can't believe they didn't have to give up something besides cash. I guess the Giants really need the money
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Mets Purchase Insurance Man
March 1, 1975
The New York Mets need a home run punch and the San Francisco Giants need money.
Both teams got what they needed Friday when the Mets purchased slugger Dave Kingman from the Giants for an estimated $100,000.
The Giants, who once demanded a Met pitcher for their inconsistent slugger, settled for cash this time because of problems at the gate. The Giants have been one of the poorest drawing teams in baseball of late.
"If he makes contact, he can scare you," said New York manager Yogi Berra of his newest player. "He strengthens our bench and gives us insurance in the outfield."
Kingman had publicly asked to be traded, since he wasn't playing regularly with the Giants. The rangy infielder-outfielder hit .223 in 121 games last season. but connected for 18 home runs and had 55 RBIs.
His best seasons came in 1972 and 1973, when he hit 29 and 24 home runs, respectively, while playing part-time. Those years included some tape- measure shots indicative of his ferocious power. But he also struck out a lot, indicative of his inconsistency.
It was at this time that the Giants requested southpaw Jon Matlack from the Mets in return for Kingman's services. The Mets offered them pitcher Jerry Koosman, but the Giants turned down the proposed deal.
"If Kingman plays every day," said New York outfielder Cleon Jones, "he can probably hit 30 homers."
Teammate Joe Torre concurred: "We finally got the right-handed power hitter we're looking for."
But Berra may have a problem finding a place for Kingman, who plays first, third and the outfield with the same inconsistency he shows at the plate. Kingman realizes he faces a competitive challenge with his new team.
"That's okay," he says. "I'm aware of the competition. That's the way it should be."
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Kingman Acquired by Mets In Cash Deal With Giants
by: JOSEPH DURSO, New York Times
March 1, 1975
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Feb. 28 - The recent rush of baseball talent into New York continued today when the Mets paid the San Francisco Giants close to $150,000 for the power-hitting Dave Kingman.
It was the seventh talent deal swung since the World Series last October by Joe McDonald, the new general manager of the team and already one of the fastest draws in the trading market. The accent has been on offensive strength, something the Mets have lacked during their 12 years in business, and they added to their growing stockpile with Kingman.
He is a 6-foot 6-inch alumnus of the University of Southern California, 26 years old, and in just under four seasons as a major leaguer he has hit 77 home runs. He plays three positions with so-so success: third base and the outfield. He also strikes out a lot - 125 times in 350 at bats last summer - but he is known as a man with a roundhouse right-handed swing and with long-distance strength when he connects.
The deal was considered a forerunner to others that the Mets may arrange before they leave Florida in six weeks and head north trying to improve on last summer's fifth-place finish. They still need pitching, but it was becoming clear that Manager Yogi Berra would be holding a sweepstakes camp here to determine which of his army of new hitters might be traded for new arms.
Kingman was not considered the Mets answer to Bobby Bonds, his old teammate on the Giants whom the Yankees acquired this winter. Nor did he figure to diminish the glamour of Catfish Hunter, whom the Yankees mortgaged for $3.75 million after Hunter escaped from the Oakland A's. But he was expected to join Joe Torre and Gene Clines in the cast the Mets have assembled in their own race to revive.
"We finally got the righthanded power bitter we've been looking for," joked Torre, who had been billed earlier as the right-handed power hitter the Mets had been looking for. "It takes the pressure off me, I guess. It wouldn't hurt."
"Fantastic," enthused Kingman in a telephone interview from his office at United Air Lines in San Francisco, where he has been working until the full squad of Giants reports Monday to Phoenix, Ariz. "I love it. I've always hit well in Shea Stadium."
He hit one ball memorably well there on Aug. 25, 1971, when he was a rookie taking his first swipes at National League pitching. - He drove one of Jerry Koosman's fastballs beyond the left-field bullpen and it crashed against the San Francisco team's bus for one of the stadium's longest home runs.
"He hit it nine miles," Koosman acknowledged today with a smile and a wink.
"It broke a window in their bus."
Kingman conceded that he had asked to be traded from the Giants because he had become a part-time player. Last season he got into 121 games, went to bat about 60 -per cent of the time and had only 78 hits. But nearly half went for extra bases: 18 doubles, 2 triples, and 18 home runs. He also batted in 55 runs and stole eight bases, but 'his career batting average was still a low .224.
Where will the Mets play him in order to get his bat into the line-up? They already have Torre as a swingman for third base and first, John Milner and Ed Kranepool for first base and the outfield, plus eight other-full-time outfielders. That is, they are loaded with platoon players.
"We'll find some place for him to play," McDonald promised. "His assets are awesome power, great speed and a fine arm. Isn't it better to get the talent and then decide what to do with it?"
Berra's Hopes High
"He could be like Mickey Mantle when he came up to the Yankees," Berra said, reaching for comparisons. "Mickey struck out a lot, too. Kingman didn't took too good at third base; in fact, they sent him home from Puerto Rico one winter because he was so bad. But how would you like to see him come up to bat if you were the other pitcher? it also gives us more if we want to make a trade."
"Two years ago," he said, reflecting on the irony of it, "we offered Koosman to the Giants for Kingman, only they turned him down. They wanted Jon Matlack. Now we got him for some money."
"In college," Kingman said, "I was a pitcher and then I played the outfield. In pro ball, third base and first, and the outfield. But I have no preference whatever. Yes, I wanted to be traded. There was a lot of talk about it a year ago. So when I signed my contract this winter, I told the Giants I wanted to go.
"I've been in Japan a lot for the airline, so I've been working out with the Japanese teams trying to cut down my strikeouts. It's a mental thing, not physical. Too many people telling me what to do, and then playing only twice a week you feet the pressure to do something big ail the time."
Cleon Jones, who wears a knee brace now after surgery on torn cartilage, welcomed Kingman along with the rest of the Mets. But he seemed cautious about the implications of the move, along with the rest of the Mets who play the infield or outfield.
"He's a big strong guy and he's got that great big swing," Cleon said. "If he plays every day, he could hit 30 home runs. But how's he going to play every day? Maybe the Mets think I need help, but I don't."
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It wasn't all Kingman's Fault
by: WELLS TWOMBLY, San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle
March 2, 1975
According to all the poetry being penned by love-smitten baseball writers, this was such a glorious spring that the lounge at the clubowner's Arizona resort hotel was absolutely clotted with potential immortals. Every day brought a new sensation. A catcher who had been traded off by another team during the winter for a relief pitcher was instantly identified as being Johnny Bench's amoeba twin. One of the league's finest shortstops said, shucks, he'd be proud and privileged to move over and play third base. A left-handed pitcher whose personal problems seemed ready to choke him to death a year ago said that he and his wife had forgotten about their divorce and had re-married. Also he had discovered that beer has a tendency to retard your training schedule.
Everyone was speaking well of the manager, a stark contrast to last spring when the former field commander was being denounced for a knave and a varlet whenever a newsman opened his notepad or flicked on his tape recorder. Even though the honorable Horace Stoneham had just issued a stock holder's report that made his baseball team sound like a sweaty version of Pan American Airways, members of the San Francisco Giants at least seemed in a cheery, optimistic mood, even though a lot of people suspect that they won't finish anywhere lower than last in the National League's Western World.
Then the Dave Kingman disaster reached its grotesque little climax. And so what else is happening out there in the Arizona desert these days? Convinced that they would never be able to teach him a thing and, if they did, his attitude was so poor that he never would make much effort to apply it, the Giants sold his contract to the New York. Mets for $100,000, indicating that baseball's only female clubowner, Joan Whitney Payson, is not running low at the petty cash box. This is the same Grand Dame who took Willie Mays's awesome salary off Horace's perspiring palms and gave San Francisco a pretty fair young relief pitcher, Charlie Williams, as heart balm.
It wasn't possible to get any athletes in return for Kingman, at least not any that Stoneham wanted to pay a whole year's salary to. Gone forever is the happy myth that one day this petuleant young man with the University of Southern California education would mash baseballs up against tile outfield seats the way Willie McCovey once did. Perhaps the Mets can salvage what the Giants so brutally wasted.
It was not entirely Kingman's fault that he failed in San Francisco, although he worked fairly hard at it. There will always be a question in thousands of minds over whether it would not have worked out better if the Giants had simply put the kid on first base, here his somewhat awkward 6-6 physique had it chance of survival, and not done so many giddy things with him.
One minute, he was going to be McCovey's replacement at first. Then he was, going to be a left fielder, or maybe a right fielder. Then the former manager decided that what he had here was a genuine third baseman.. To Kingman's credit, he accepted this absurdity and even told newsmen he liked it over there. He looked about as comfortable, as a polar bear in a sauna bath, but in the early going Kingman was at least willing to go along with the charade, no matter how ridiculous it got.
On the grounds that he had pitched in college, he was asked to go out and throw a few innings for the Giants. It came frighteningly close to being an insult. Why should a man hired to hit home runs be asked to mop up the final two innings like some nameless slob just brought up from Amarillo in the Texas League? Still, it didn't do as much to rattle Kingman's psyche as the constant round of broken promises. He was going to be given a permanent position and he was going stay there week after week. Three days later, he'd be sitting down again.
It reached the point where Kingman no longer cared. There were rumors slithering around that he was considered stupid, at best, and psychotic, at worst, by the front office. Kingman did not become a settling influence on a San Francisco Giant club that had all the coordination of a kindergarten lunch break In the first place.
During the winter meetings, they were trying desperately to get some bodies for him. Both the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers showed some interest. After all, Kingman had managed to strike 18 home runs during the course of what could only be considered a wretchedly bad season. Neither team wanted to give up much. The Boston Red Sox were willing to come up with an infielder and maybe a pitcher, but they would have fitted better into the Phoenix lineup than the one Stoneham wanted to put on the field in San Francisco.
It is possible that something could have been saved without trading Kingman, bat the player himself couldn't stop telling the citizens just what he thought of the People in charge of the San Francisco ball club. He unloaded at a banquet in Santa Rosa and whatever market value he had declined. It is impossible to deal from strength when the other team is fully aware that the player you are trying to trade won't play very hard for you ff you don't get rid of him. With the Oakland Athletics it is a different matter. But they, are unique. Charley Finley denounces one of his players, who in turn denounces the owner. Next week it's all over...not forgotten, exactly...but over, just the same.
In a less chaotic situation, Kingman probably can be trained. The man is capable of 25 home runs a year. He is also capable of an enormous number of strikeouts. He can play first base, for the very simple reason that Dick Stuart, Steve Bilko and Ron Blomberg have also played that position in the major leagues.
Somehow, the Giant management can't seem to understand that it is in show business and not doing awfully well at that, considering that the $1,712,447 it lost last summer was one of the largest losses ever reported by a major league baseball club. To meet obligations $894,120 of short term securities owned by the Giants were sold. An additional $250,000 was borrowed from a bank where Stoneham .has a million dollar line of credit. Stoneham is working numerous deals, including the sale of real estate the Giants hold in Minnesota and Arizona. Thus, the $100,000 for Kingman is like found money.
Losing him and Tito Fuentes and Bobby Bonds and Elias Sosa in trades removes a great deal of marketable color from the Giants. If you're going to have a bad team, you might was well have an engaging one. In Bobby Murcer, the man who came from the Yankees in the Bobby Bonds transaction, they have somebody with a fine flair for folksy humor. How well they use him is up to one of the most mundane executive brigades in American business.
"Murcer is a fine baseball player," said Gabe Paul, the Yankees' de facto general manager. "But Bonds is one of the five super stars in baseball - Reggie Jackson,, Johnny Bench, Cesar Cedeno and Joe Morgan. Any time one of them is available, you have to make the deal."
Everybody else is happy. The manager is a swell guy, because he speaks straight. There may not be many customers at Candlestick Park this summer, but out in Arizona life is tranquil and sweet. Doesn't anybody around here know the patient is sick? No? Okay, fella, just asking. That's all.
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Kingman Joins Mets at Camp
by: JOSEPH DURSO, New York Times
March 3, 1975
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 2--The most heavily revamped team in the history of the New York Mets was finally assembled today when Dave Kingman reported from the San Francisco Giants and joined the army of strangers inside the locker room.
The 6-foot-6-inch power hitter, who fretted through last summer with 18 home runs and 125 strike-outs, was immediately taken in hand by his old teammate, Willie Mays, who said:
"It's a mental problem, he's trying to hit home runs every time so he chases bad pitches, especially high ones. In San Francisco he was unhappy, so they couldn't get through to him. But I can talk to him, and I will."
During his 22 years in the big leagues, Mays hit 660 home runs, more than anybody this side of Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth. During his four years in the business, Kingman has hit 77. But he strikes out one-third of the time and, after he reported to Payson Field this morning, he was given uniform No. 4 and a high priority on the list of Manager Yogi Berra's reclamation projects.
"I take a big cut at the ball," Kingman conceded after swinging against a clever machine that mixes sliders with fastballs. "It's the type of hitter I am, so I'll strike out a lot. Yes, I expect there'll be a lot of pressure on me in New York, too, but nothing is handed to you.
"You ask any major leaguer what town he wants to play in and he'll say New York. That's true, even though I realize the Mets have a lot of people who play where I do, first base and the outfield. But I learned a lot in San Francisco, like how to accept the situation."
So many players have gone through the revolving door this winter that the Mets are shuffling uniform numbers as well as positions. Rusty Staub reclaimed his original No. 10, which he had wore in Houston and Montreal, but which belonged to Duffy Dyer on the Mets. When Dyer was traded to Pittsburgh this winter, Staub took back his numeral and discarded No. 4, which was assigned today to Kingman, who prefers his old No. 26.
But the chief numbers that concern Berra and his coaches, including Willie Mays, are these: 40 men in camp competing for 25 jobs, and they include four first-basemen, three third basemen and nine outfielders. Kingman plays all three positions and has even pitched four innings in the big leagues (allowing three hits and four runs).
"Yogi indicated he'd never seen me play the outfield," Kingman said. "He did see me at third and first. I don't think he knows himself what to do with me exactly. His Problem is to get the best nine guys on the field."
Kingman walked over to Mays, who has bee, spending the winter working with youth groups around the country, and said: "You're getting fat, and you need a haircut."
"I gained three pounds, that's all," Mays shrieked, displaying a flat stomach to clinch the point. "Man, I been busy getting my teeth capped, too."
"I was a rookie when Willie was playing his last season with the Giants," Kingman said later, turning to his own problems. "I asked him for advice then, and even after he left the team for the Mets, and I intend to keep doing it here."
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Expert help for Kingman
St. Petersburg Times
March 3, 1975
Phil Cavarretta, former National League batting champion and Most Valuable Player, has been assigned the duties of trying to cut down the strikeouts of Dave Kingman, the New York Mets' newest outfielder.
Kingman arrived in the Mets' St. Petersburg camp Sunday following his purchase from the San Francisco Giants on Friday.
"I want Phil to work with him," Manager Yogi Berra said. "We know he's got great power but we have to try and cut down on his strikeouts."
CAVARETTA, batting champ and MVP in 1945 with the Chicago Cubs, observed Kingman the first few times he stepped in the batting cage but said he would hold off a few days before offering any advice.
"I've never seen the boy before except on TV," Cavaretta said. "You can't tell anything from that. What I hope to do is just observe him for a few days and then see if I can help him. They tell me he has great power. What we've got to do is get him to make more contact."
Kingman, who hit 18 homers for the Giants last year but batted only.223 and struck out 125 times in 350 at bats, is enthusiastic about joining the Mets.
"I'M STARTING a whole new career," said the 26 year-old Californian. "There's one place every major leaguer wants to play and that a New York. Now I've got the opportunity. I don't know where Yogi is going to play me but I'm thrilled to be here."
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Kingman's fresh start a blooming, booming one
by: RON MARTZ, St. Petersburg Times
March 10, 1975
Dave Kingman is:
"...a polished outfielder, a strong and remarkably accurate thrower and a fast man on the bases who hits with power...about to fulfill all the promises made for his career."
- 1972 San Francisco Giants' press guide

"... an amazingly quick athlete for a big 1972 Dave provided a lot of run-scoring power but his average was not what he'd like it to be.. .last season Dave played first base, third base and left field."
- 1973 San Francisco Giants' press guide

"All the physical tools - power, speed, strong arm - are in Dave's possession...has a lot of desire also, but there has been something missing...if he could put it all together he would be a super player."
- 1975 San Francisco Giants' press guide

Things have been going downhill for Dave Kingman ever since he broke into baseball with the Giants in 1971. He never lived up to their superstar expectations and his deteriorating standing with the club is evident in the press guides.
It really gets tough when those guys who spend their lives looking at their teams through rose colored glasses and writing press guides can't find anything nice to say.
As far as Kingman is concerned, the only good thing about the San Francisco Giants' 1975 press guide description of him is that it is no longer applicable.
DAVE KINGMAN, all 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds of him, is now a member of the New York Mets. It is, he says, almost like starting all over in baseball again.
Just a little over a week ago the Giants sold Kingman to the Mets, for an estimated $100,000 to $150,000 in a straight cash deal.
"The Mets didn't have anybody we wanted," said Giants owner Horace Stoneham, not saying a lot for the Meta or for Kingman or for the Giants, who finished fifth in the National League West in 1974, ahead of only San Diego.
It is no secret Kingman was as dissatisfied with the Giants as they were with him.
"I'm going to remember the good times about San Francisco and not the bad times," the 26-year-old Kingman said Sunday. "All that happened there is history. Let's just call it a learning session. I learned an awful lot there and I'm going to benefit by it.
"I'm not going to say anything bad about San Francisco, I'm not going to step on anyone's toes. It's just a thrill to play for New York. This is not the only place to be. I'm going to forget about what has happened in the past and just try to earn a job here."
Kingman has gotten off to a quick start in his efforts to earn a regular job with his new team hitting a home run in both of the Mets' first two spring training games over the weekend.
SATURDAY KINGMAN connected with a Claude Osteen pitch and when it came down it hit the sidewalk on the far side of Bayshore Drive behind the leftfield wall at Al Lang and landed in the yacht basin on one bounce. Sunday's homer was more routine, only about 375 feet, but a long foul made it into Tampa Bay on one bounce.
It is reminiscent of 1971 when Kingman was called up to the Giants from their Phoenix farm club and proceeded to hit three home runs in his first series, including a game-winning grand slam for his first major league homer.
But Dave Kingman also has struck out twice in eight appearances in two spring games, one of the habits which has made what the Giants had hoped would be a very good baseball player into a very bad baseball player in their eyes.
Last season Kingman hit 18 homers playing in only 121 games but he struck out 125 times in 350 at bats, an average of one strikeout every 2.8 appearances at the plate.
"I am by no means a defensive hitter. I take a very hard cut at the ball," said Kingman, a member of the 1970 University of Southern California NCAA championship baseball team.
"This season I'm not trying to hit home runs. I know I've said that before, but this year I'm really emphasizing it. I'm trying to make good, hard contact with the ball every time I go to the plate."
KINGMAN IS TRYING to prove he can hit the ball consistently, for average and for power, and that he can play defense, whether at first, third or in the outfield, as well as anyone else, provided he is given the chance to play regularly.
When people see Dave Kingman hit home runs, they have a tendency to label him the next Hank Aaron, or Babe Ruth and expect him to hit one out every time he walks to the plate.
The Giants did, and it didn't do much for Kingman's confidence when they began to lose theirs in him.
"I hope what I've done (in the first two games) doesn't get a lot of people's expectations up too high. You can't prove anything in two games. All I want to do is earn the opportunity to show what I can do, to prove a few things about to my ability to play baseball."
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Kingman Steals Tom-Jim Show
by: JOHN JOLINSKI, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
March 13, 1975
FORT LAUDERDALE - It was supposed to be the Tom and Jim Show, but - someone forgot to tell Dave.
Dave Kingman put on a show of his own by smashing a (pair of prodigious home runs to overshadow the classic pitching matchup of Tom Seaver and Jim "Catfish" Hunter as the New York Mets edged the New York Yankees, 3-0, last night at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.
A record turnout of 7,195 came out to see Seaver and Hunter, a pair of Cy Young winners, do their thing, but what they saw and heard was the booming bat of Kingman.
The ex-San Francisco Giant supplied, the Mets with the only run they needed by sending a Hunter slider 450 feet over the left-field wall in the second inning.
"If you're gonna give up a home run, there's no sense giving up a cheap one," laughed Hunter afterward, his $3.5 million arm resting in a bucket of 50-cent ice.
Two innings later, Kingman ripped a Hunter changeup to almost the identical spot, giving the Mets a 2-0 edge. It was Kingman's third and fourth home runs of the spring.
Seaver didn't mind Kingman hogging some of the attention. In fact, he appreciated it. Very much.
"Those home runs," he sad, "were unbelievable. Unbelievable. And the thing is he didn't even swing hard."
Despite Kingman's assault, the Hunter-Seaver matchup was everything it was expected it would be. Classic.
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Mets Put Their Money on Kingman's Power
by: JACK LANG, The Sporting News
March 15, 1975
ST. PETERSBURG--The first thing Yogi Berra did after learning Joe McDonald had completed the purchase of Dave Kingman was to call for Phil Cavarretta. "When he gets here," Yogi informed his batting instructor, "he's your baby. I want you to work with him. He's got tremendous power, but we got to get him to make more contact."
Kingman had been coveted by the Mets ever since the August afternoon in 1972 when he slammed a Jerry Koosman pitch completely out of the park at Shea Stadium. It broke a window in the Giants' team bus parked outside the park.
"TWO YEARS AGO, we offered the Giants Jerry Koosman for Kingman," McDonald recalled. "But they wanted Jon Matlack and we said, 'No deal.' "
Kingman came considerably cheaper this time, if you consider a reported $125,000 cheap. But at least the Mets didn't have to give up a player to get the 26-year-old slugger and that was what surprised most of the Met players themselves.
"I guess the Giants must really need the money if they sell a guy like him for cash," said Joe Torre.
"It's a great deal for us," chimed in Tom Seaver. "He's got to help our bench strength."
MET PLAYERS, the pitchers in particular, are delighted with the deals McDonald has made since taking over as general manager last October. He vowed the day he was appointed to do all in his power to increase the club's run production, and he has. This was Joe's seventh deal and almost every one of them added another bat to the Mets' lineup.
Cavarretta chatted amiably with Kingman the day the big guy arrived, but he quickly pointed out to the press he was in no way offering advice at this point.
"I've never even seen the boy except on TV and you can't tell much from that," said the batting instructor.
"I don't even intend to talk to him until after I've observed him several days. You've got to see someone more than once to tell what he may be doing wrong."
KINGMAN WAS thrilled with the prospect of playing in New York and for the Mets.
"When I signed this winter, I asked Jerry Donovan to try and trade me," he said. "I wasn't happy with the Giants. It couldn't have worked out better. There's no team I would rather have come to than the Mets."
The Mets seldom have had a player with the awesome power of a Kingman. Now all they have to do is find a spot for him and cut down on his strikeouts.
"The strikeouts with him are a mental thing," said Willie Mays, a former teammate and now a special Mets' coach. "I'm gonna talk to the boy, too. I think we all can help him."
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Kingman Now Meeting Ball
by: WILL GRIMSLEY, Associated Press
March 15, 1975
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dave Kingman wishes everybody would delay judgment before tabbing him a future Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron.
"I don't make predictions for myself and I don't like other people to make predictions for me," the New York Mets' towering slugger said Friday.
"It's much too early to set grandiose goals or talk about great expectations. I know what some have said. I don't believe what I read. I'm busy trying to make this ball club, make myself into a complete player. Whatever happens, happens."
The versatile 26-year-old, purchased from the San Francisco Giants, is an early sensation of baseball's spring training, hitting four home runs - one of them a 500-foot blast in Fort Lauderdale Wednesday night off the New York Yankees' Catfish Hunter.
"Longest shot I've ever seen," said Mets manager Yogi Berra, who remembers when Mickey Mantle was blasting them out of the park.
"I never saw Frank Howard hit one that long," added Mets coach Rube Walker. "Out of sight," said batting instructor Phil Cavaretta. "That second home run he hit in the same game. (also off Hunter) was something, too. He just reached for it and it went 350 feet."
"It was like a magnet on the bench when Dave hit that first home run against the Yankees," said pitcher Tom Seaver. "Everybody's mouth flew open at the same time and everybody rose together to try to follow the flight of the ball."
Bobby Bonds, Kingman's teammate at San Francisco before being traded to the Yankees, said Kingman is one man capable of hitting 60 home runs a season.
It's this kind of talk that jars the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Oregonian "I'm pleased that someone thinks I have potential," he said. "But I don't like to think about personal goals."
Kingman hit 29 home runs and had 83 runs batted in his first full year with the Giants in 1972. He was pressing Cincinnati's league-leading Johnny Bench in both departments when he suffered an ankle sprain July 15 that hampered him the second half of the season.
Like most power hitters, Kingman's problem has been strikeouts. He has 422 strikeouts in 1,242 at bats. Last year he fanned 125 times - once every three times up.
"I get tired of reading that I have a strikeout problem," he said. "It was a problem; it is not a problem any more. I am learning to meet the ball."
He is doing this with the aid of Cavaretta, - the former Chicago Cub manager who is serving as the Mets' first batting instructor. Kingman is Cavaretta's main assignment.
"This is a great kid," says the graying coach. "He has something to learn. But he is very dedicated, very aggressive. He is so quick and strong there is no telling how many home runs he may someday hit. I hope he doesn't lose his aggressiveness."
"I won't," promises Kingman.
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Dave Kingman, Shellfish
by: DICK YOUNG, New York Daily News
March 21, 1975
St. Petersburg, March 20--Let me tell you how the Mets lucked into Dave Kingman. At the winter meetings, where the Giants were offering him around, several clubs took a shot, including the White Sox. This was during the inter-league trading period in December. They offered Bill Melton, a third baseman with punch.
The Giants were interested. They needed a third baseman. They'd think about it, they told the Sox. There was no rush. After all, the club owners had just voted to add another interleague trading period during spring training. "We'll talk about it in March," Horace Stoneham told them.
Poor Horace. How was he to know the Players' Union would veto the inter- league trading period set for two weeks in March?
That reduced the trading market for Kingman by half. Meanwhile, something changed in the Giants' situation. They needed money more than a third baseman. I can only surmise as much from conversation with Bing Devine the other day.
"We tried to get Kingman," said the Cardinal GM. "We offered them players." "Then why did they take cash?"
"I can't answer that," said Devine.
The Giants took $125,000. When a team takes money instead of players these days, it must be assumed they have some pretty heavy bills.
Now let me tell you the kind of player the Mets got for their money. This comes from Bobby Bonds, who played with him in San Francisco, and knows his strong points, and soft spots:
"I told Yogi that if he plays Dave in 150 games, he'll hit 30 homers for them, maybe 40. And after he's playing regularly for a couple of years, he'll be the next man to hit 60 homers."
And now for the bad news:
"He is very sensitive," says Bobby Bonds. "You can't criticize him for doing something wrong. Especially in front of other players. For example, the manager can't say to him, what kind of a stupid play was that! Dave would say, don't you think I feel bad about it?
"Right then," says Bonds, "we'd look at each other in the clubhouse, and somebody would say, I wonder how long we've lost him for this time."

Dave Would Enter His Shell
It could be anything from one day to one week, Bonds says. You could bet on it. Dave Kingman, stung by a cross word, would go into his shell.
There's a saying in baseball: Some players have to be patted on the back, some have to be kicked in the pants. Dave Kingman is neither.
"Dave doesn't have to be patted," says Bobby Bonds, "but don't kick him. Just say, way to go, every so often, that's all. And you'll have one terrific ballplayer. I don't think people realize what an outstanding ballplayer he really is, and I don't mean just hitting.
"He can run the bases. I mean he knows how. He can steal for you. I can outrun him. but I won't run away from him.
"And nobody is stronger than Dave, nobody in baseball. McCovey looks stronger, has bigger muscles, but Kingman will fool you. He'll hit 'em as long as anybody. Richie Allen, Willie Stargell, anybody."
According to Mickey Mantle, nobody has hit one farther than the homer Kingman blasted off Catfish Hunter the other night. At least Mick says he never saw one longer,
"He's swinging different." says Mantle. "Shorter."
"Who's working with him? Cavaretta?" said Bonds. "He has him standing up there different. Used to be you could tell how to pitch to him just by how he stands there. If he's straight up, he's looking to reach outside. If he was spread out, that meant he was looking for something inside. Now, he stands the same way for everything."
And there's the fielding. He has a strong arm: He is an exciting outfielder, lending the thrill of uncertainty to the pursuit of a fly ball every so often. First base, they say, is his best position, but if he is to play every day it will be in the outfield.
"Dave Kingman has the potential to be one of the outstanding players of all time," says Charley Fox. "If he ever puts it all together, he will be. He needs to learn about concentration on the field."
One day, at Candlestick Park, Dave Kingman was playing first base, his best position. The Reds had a man on third with two out. The batter hit a ground ball to Kingman, who fired it home. The catcher had moved away from the plate. Kingman's throw almost decapitated umpire Shag Crawford, who ducked just in time.
"Hey Shag,' shouted Joey Amalfitano, the Giants' coach, you're gonna have to learn to handle that throw if you want to stay in the big leagues."
I hope that story doesn't drive Dave Kingman into. his shell for a month. Opening day is less than three weeks away.
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It's Kong Kingman to Mets
by: MAURY ALLEN, New York Post
March 26, 1975
BRADENTON- -His teammates call him Kong Kingman, are in awe of his incredible strength and are starting to tell stories about his spring home runs.
"Remember the one in Clearwater the other day?" said outfielder Bob Gallagher. "That was with a broken bat."
"The one he hit off Hunter In Fort Lauderdale," said Ed Kranepool, "reminded me of some of the ones Frank Howard used to hit."
Kingman hit his eighth spring home run yesterday, had two line drive singles, knocked in four runs, raised his average to .362, played a perfect right field and had Yogi Berra thinking of petitioning for an early start to the regular season.
Frank Thomas hit 34 home runs 14 years ago for the Mets. The record has never been challenged. Kingman is capable of challenging that one, challenging Frank Howard's distances, Roger Maris' numbers and Tom Seaver's income.
All of the furor swirling around Kong Kingman's home runs have impressed all the Mets' players, front office people, Florida fans and suntanned sportswriters. The eye of the storm stays calm.

Won't Explain It
"I'm just having a lot of fun," said Kingman, after the Mets shut out the Pirates 8-0.
David Arthur Kingman, 26 years old, a handsome, brown-haired, thin-faced, 210-pound native of Pendleton, Ore., who now lives outside San Francisco down the peninsula in Millbrae, won't attempt to explain this wondrous spring.
"Ballplayers have had springs like this before," Kingman said.
Not many and never a Met. The closest thing to a hot-home-run Mets' spring was Ron Swoboda's performance as a 19-year-old in the rookie camp for Casey Stengel in 1964.
Kingman wears contact lenses and his eyes often seem close to tears as he talks though he is a well-spoken, affable fellow who smiles easily. He is trying hard to remind everyone this is only spring training.
"I've never been a good spring hitter," Kingman said. "I'm enjoying this. The only reason for this success might be the fact that I'm playing every day. I've never done that before in the spring."
Kingman obviously feels some deep bitterness about what happened to him with the Giants. He feels that the constant platooning and shuffling of positions hurt his chances for stardom in San Francisco. He says little about the Giants publicly, working hard to emphasize the present and forget the past.
"This is a new start for me," he said. "I just want to do well."
If he was doing any better and if they bronzed players for spring performances, Kingman would be on the Thruway to Cooperstown.
"I've just been playing a lot so I have my swing down good and my rhythm," he said. "I just want to keep it that way."
Berra wants to keep Kingman happy as well as hitting. He hasn't put him at third base, where he is unhappy, or at first base, where he is merely adequate.
"I don't care where I play," Kingman said, "as long as I'm in there every day."
He played right field yesterday, has played center and has done everything asked of him in left field.

The Big Ride
"I think he can play centerfield," said Berra. "If Cleon (Jones) recovers that's where I'll probably play Kingman."
Berra spends a little time each day socializing with Kingman. He wants him to feel wanted. He knows vhat Kingman could do for this team.
"Kingman's a very sensitive guy," said a teammate. "Yogi talks to him a lot. I've never seen Yogi do that with anybody else."
Kingman doesn't want to hear about the Giants. Kingman doesn't want to hear about strikeouts. Kingman doesn't want to hear about platooning.
Berra doesn't bring up any of those subjects with Kingman. All they talk about is how sweet it is to hit baseballs hard, far and often.
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Mets' towering puzzle: King of swat or swish?
by: HUBERT MIZELL, St. Petersburg Times
March 28, 1975
David Arthur Kingman is a 6-foot-6 jigsaw puzzle. There have always been a few missing pieces. After four years, the San Francisco Giants gave up. Now it's the New York Mets who're playing the game.
But, if the picture is ever completed...
Kingman could become a 50-homer-a-year hero, a righthanded slugger capable of 500-foot shots...maybe 600 feet or 700. Maybe a mile. Maybe another Hammer, like Aaron. Another Thumper, like Williams. Another Sultan of Swat, like the Babe.
UNFORTUNATELY, Kingman's reputation to date has been more of a Sultan of Swish. He has struck out 422 times in 1,242 major league at-bats, an average of one whiff every 2.9 attempts.
Still, the potential remains.
The Giants are hungry more for money than potential and sold Kingman to the Mets for $125,000 exactly four weeks ago. The gents of Shea Stadium are famished for some righthanded power hitting. They got some in Joe Torre, who came from the Cardinals last fall. They dream of much more from Kingman. ,"All he has to do is make contact," says Joe McDonald, the Mets' general manager and purchaser of the slim, 210-pound Kingman. "His potential is unreal. If he can cut down the strikeouts and improve his fielding, we've got ourselves a superstar."
More parts to the 6-foot-6 jigsaw.
PHIL CAVARRETTA, a former National League batting champion with the Chicago Cubs, was handed the Kingman experiment by Mets Manager Yogi Berra. "I told Phil," Berra said on the bench at Al Lani Field one day, "if he can solve this one, he'll be set for life."
So far, it's working marvelously.
Kingman is hitting .367 in the Grapefruit League. He has struck out 10 times in 49 at bats, once every 4.9...which is considerably better than once every 2.9. The 26 year-old outfielder also has eight home runs, three doubles, seven singles and has batted in 14 runs.
The Mets' hopes are rising daily.
I sat beside Kingman on the bench a couple of days ago and threw questions. Some were answered, some passed over. This towering inferno of Spring 1975 seems as puzzling as his baseball history, an intelligent man who wants to say things but won't quite let them out.
"I FEEL REAL GOOD, 100 per cent relaxed for a change," he said. "I'm not swinging so wildly, not upper cutting as much. Cavarretta has helped me cut it down. I'm not striking out so much, although I still consider myself a free swinger and will always strike out a certain amount of the time."
Kingman says the day the Mets contacted him about the deal was the "happiest of my life." He won't rap the Giants, but it's obvious he didn't leave his heart in that city by the bay.
"I'm playing regularly, that's the answer," he said, staring onto Al Lang Field as the Mets' opponents for that day went through hitting practice.
"I've taken the term 'home run' out of my vocabulary," he said. "I'm just swinging good, trying for base hits." He was asked about the eight homers, which is exactly eight times as many as any other Met this spring. "Not thinking home runs is having a reverse effect," he said. "The balls are popping out without me trying for homers."
He spoke fondly of his instructor.
"CAVARRETTA KNOWS his stuff and has great patience with me," Kingman said. "He's always watching, no matter if it's in a game or in a batting cage by myself at our training base. Phil hasn't made any drastic changes, just minor things. He makes suggestions instead of demands."
Think about that last statement. From what Bobby Bonds of the New York Yankees says, maybe the Mets - or Cavarretta have found a clue. Bonds knows Kingman well from the days when they were teammates in San Francisco.
"He is very sensitive," Bonds said. "You can't criticize him for doing something wrong, especially in front of other players."
The Yankee, a man of superstar potential himself, can look back to when Kingman was rapped by superiors with the Giants. "For example," Bonds said, "the manager can't say to him, 'What kind of stupid play was that?' Dave would say, 'Don't you think I feel bad about it?'"
"RIGHT THEN, we'd look at each other (in the Giants' clubhouse) and somebody would say,'l wonder how long we've lost him for this time?'"
Bonds has chatted with Berra about Kingman. He obviously passed along some advice and made some predictions. "I told Yogi that if he plays Dave in 150 games, he will hit 30 homers, maybe 40. And, after he's playing regularly for a couple of years, he'll become the next man to hit 60 homers."
Handsome praise about a man who has 77 in his four major league seasons, but Kingman takes the same stand. He says that playing regularly will help find those key pieces of the jigsaw.
Although often platooned, Kingman has been a bit more active with the Giants than he would lead you to believe. He batted 472 times in 1972, 305 the next and 350 last summer. His batting averages were .225, .203 and .223. His homer totals were 29, 24 and 18. His RBIs 83, 55 and 55. His strikeouts 140, 122 and 125.
One more part of the giant jigsaw...
KINGMAN ISN'T the slickest of fielders. Berra said before Kingman reported to camp, "he's messed up a lot at third base. We're thinking about him in left field."
While Cavarretta, the Mets' major league batting professor, has charge of the Kingman swing, McDonald says Willie Mays may help Dave with his fielding.
The puzzle game continues.
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New York Salutes Bay Area
by: WELLS TWOMBLEY, The Sporting News
March 29, 1975
FORT LAUDERDALE--Instead of thumping canes and begging for more plasma as some spring training crowds have a habit of doing, this writhing mass of tourists was on its feet and screaming passionately from the time the temporary home team came springing onto the field. It was pure, uncut emotionalism. The baseball lads had been sweating away the winter's accumulation of beer and bread for a mere two weeks and already the customers were convinced that something special will happen this season, demonstrating that reports of the grand old game's death are greatly exaggerated.
It may depress the rest of the nation, but what the sport needs in order to survive is a strong representative in New York City, where the major leagues still have roughly the same status as the Roman Catholic Church in the Irish Republic.
Meanwhile, this winter, the following wonderful things happened:
(1) The San Francisco Giants kindly donated outfielders Dave Kingman to the Mets and Bobby Bonds to the Yankees; (2) the Oakland Athletics, Charlie Finley presiding, made it possible for the Yankees to own Catfish Hunter, the game's finest pitcher, and (3) Tom Seaver took a solemn pledge on his stack of Ovaltine box tops that he would not have another lousy season for the Mets.
So here were the two New York nines locked in mortal combat in what had been widely advertised as an exhibition game, but what everybody knew to be a preview of next October's autumnal classic, to come up with a classy euphemism for World Series. The stands were crowded. The customers were victims of exceedingly sweaty palms. It was just too exquisite, so nobody shut up for nine innings. It was wonderfully exhilarating and every bit of it was brought to the citizens by courtesy of the friendly folks who own those baseball teams in Northern California.
IT HAS BEEN explained to Catfish Hunter over and over again that Kingman is far too unschooled to hit curve balls. Considering that he owns a right arm worth 3.75 million over the next five years, Hunter had not been toying with the myriad mysteries of the curve much this spring. But his catcher insisted and, having worked for Finley, he had a fair idea of what can happen to a man who doesn't obey orders. The curveball rose high in the warm evening atmosphere sailing, majestically above the light towers and heading in the general direction of either Boca Raton or Tampa.
Inside of one week, whatever it was that the Giants could not teach Kingman in five years had been artfully corrected. There stood Hunter shaking his head and looking mildly bemused.
For the next four innings, Tom Seaver did not permit the Yankees to do any serious damage to his ego. It was a wonderfully uplifting feeling, the sort of omen a man starts searching for when his good fortune suddenly turns bitter. Only a year ago, there was nobody more wonderful in the whole lovely world of sweat than Seaver. He could pitch as well as anybody in this civilized sector of the universe.
Then he started experiencing physical pain. The muscles around the sciatic nerve in his left hip began to snap and snarl. The spasms were so bad that Seaver was reduced to mediocrity, as if somebody up there was trying to tell him something. Struggling against a nameless fear, he altered his delivery. It didn't work. Batters who had trembled at the sight of his name in the starting lineup suddenly stopped worrying about him. Tom Seaver was human. That was the good news.
NOW FOR THE bad news. Seaver has no more pain. While other members of the New York Mets decided that a tour of Japan was strictly for tourists and made up silly excuses to stay home, Seaver went out and pitched against the Tokyo Giants, the Lotte Orions, the Hiroshima Carps and all those other wonderfully named Japanese clubs. He worked in five games and he was throwing well. The hip no longer hurt.
Failure has no rewards no matter how plausible the excuse is. They called him into the front office and told him that he couldn't possibly make $175,000. The pain was not his fault. But it had happened and some adjustment would have to be made. He took a contract for $160,000 and never once whimpered. This is an age of errant greed with athletes demanding far more money than they are worth, but Seaver took his fiscal demotion with good grace, remarkably so in fact.
"What a grandstand player that Seaver is," said the agent for another National League pitcher who had an even more disastrous season. "He took that cut. Hell, he almost begged for it. Now my guy is going to have all kinds of problems avoiding a big healthy slash. Who is Seaver trying to impress?"
For the record, it was not something that Seaver begged for. It was something that destroyed a precious part of his soul. Instead of spending weeks giving speeches for fees, he alternately rested and worked out. Having an 11-11 record next to his name in THE SPORTING NEWS Baseball Register was not his idea of immortality.
"I don't want to be an average player," he said. "I have too much pride for that. I think I'm back to where I was before all this trouble started. But who can tell? It isn't the regular season. That's when you know what you can do. They made a big deal out of this game with the Yankees. That's because both teams play in New York. Everybody back there wants an all New York Series. It was fun starting against Catfish. But I'd rather do it next October. That's a cliche and I know sportswriters hate those things. But it is also the truth."
It is simply amazing what happened to Kingman after he was sold to the Mets as distressed merchandise for a price estimated at between $75,000 and $150,000. No longer does he pout, No longer is he asked to play third base, a position that is about as well suited to his physical stature as brain surgery is to a giraffe. In his first few games with the Metropolitans, he hit four home runs. These are the miracles of spring and they are brought to you in part by the same warm, wonderful people who sent Gaylord Perry to Cleveland for cash, a minor league shortstop and a barfly to be named later.
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Kingman's Bat, Glove Awaken Met Memories
by: JACK LANG, The Sporting News
March 29, 1975
ST. PETERSBURG--It's been a long time since the Mets have had anyone in their spring camp to fan the fires of their imagination the way Dave Kingman has. Not since 1964, when a husky youngster out of Baltimore had Casey Stengel raving, "He hits balls over buildings."
That boy's name was Ron Swoboda and, while he did hit some balls over buildings, he could not leap over tall buildings and therefore was not Superman.
But they tried to make him Superman, such was their crying need for anyone who could hit a ball over the fence back in their infant stages. Swoboda was rushed up to the majors a year later, not ready but needed. He hit something like 15 homers by the All-Star Game and finished the season with 19. They had caught up with him, those nasty fellows in the Pitcher's Union. Except for his heroics in the field in the 1969 World Series (which Earl Weaver still does not believe), it was to be the end for the monster the Mets had created.
NOW ALONG comes Kingman by way of San Francisco and there is a great similarity in Big Dave and the man Mets' fans lovingly nicknamed Rocky.
Kingman hit four HRs in 16 ABs. Some were over palm trees and into nearby bays. In his first two games as a Met, he deposited one ball in Tampa Bay and another in the palm fronds beyond left field in their St. Petersburg playpen.
But all the while he was reminding them of Swoboda in another way. He was misjudging fly balls.
If you've ever seen a pelican take off, you have a small idea of what it's like watching Kingman go after a fly ball.
ARMS ARE flapping and legs are grinding in every direction. And at 6-6, there are a lot of arms and legs on Mr. Kingman.
The guy who wrote the line in the Giants' press guide in 1972 is wasting his time. He should be writing gags for Hollywood comedians. In that guide, he described Kingman as "a polished fielder." Where?
But the Mets are just going to have to learn to live with David. They may not have much choice.
For the Mets suddenly find themselves uncertain when Cleon Jones, their left fielder of many years, will play again. If Cleon is ready by opening day, it will come as a surprise to many.
THROUGH the first three weeks of spring training, Cleon was virtually inoperative. Recovering from surgery on his left knee for a torn cartilage, Cleon appeared to be going through the motions as the knee constantly puffed on him. He was spending almost as much time with trainers Joe Deer and Tom McKennas as he was with Manager Yogi Berra.
"It still bothers him," Berra admitted, "and we can't rush him. He does what he can. He's got to be careful."
Meanwhile, the Mets also have to get ready for the opener and Kingman, at this juncture, appears the man most likely to be in left field April 8, when Tom Seaver faces Steve Carlton and the Phillies at Shea Stadium.
Batting coach Phil Cavarretta constantly works with Kingman to try and achieve more contact with his bat and the ball.
"Dave has a tendency to drop his right shoulder," said Cavvy, "and it puts his bat in a bad position. He uppercuts the ball."
If Cavarretta ever gets Kingman to make more contact, the Mets may overlook his obvious deficiencies in the field. And the Shea fans will love him the way they did Swoboda if he parks a few in the parking lot outside the stadium.
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Kingman is Newest Mets Hero
April 1, 1975
NEW YORK (UPI) - Some people are born lucky. They're gifted with such beautiful voices, they sing like birds. Others have all they can do to hum, and still others can't so much as hold a note. In the music world, they're known as listeners. and there you have David Arthur Kingman - he's a listener, a real good one.
"I listened to everybody," he says. "That was my downfall. I listened to too many people."
Some of the people with his new ball club, the New York Mets, say right- handed hitting six-foot-six Dave Kingman listens beautifully. Some of those with his old club. the San Francisco Giants. say the same thing but add a conditional phrase.
"lie listens, all right." agrees one member of the Giants. "He listens and he tries, but unfortunately he seems to have a concentration span of only three minutes. You tell him something, and he'll forget it three minutes later."
Kingman says that isn't true. He says he simply was given too much advice about hitting adjustments.
"One person would tell me to do this, and another person would tell me to do that," he says. "I was unable to relax. I couldn't have fun out there. Things went badly. and never got better. The pressure just kept mounting."
But that was with the Giants. Now with the Mets, people approach Dave Kingman wanting to know what suddenly has gotten into him. How come he's the biggest, most terrific thing to come along for the Mets since Tom Seaver? He has eight home runs. 15 rbis and a fancy .358 batting average so far this Spring and promises to enjoy himself at Shea Stadium this summer following four dismally disappointing seasons in San Francisco.
"Over here." he says, meaning with the Mets. "they've left me pretty much on my own. Phil Cavarretta, the team's batting instructor. said 'I'm gonna watch you for a coupla weeks and not say anything.' He's been real patient. Oh sure, he talks with me and gives me little suggestions. But he doesn't sav 'do it,' he says 'think about it.' I've never had anybody say that to me before."
The first time the Giants saw the huge 210-pound Kingman swing a bat, they were fascinated by him. They followed him and saw him deposit baseballs 450 feet over the fence, and farther. so naturally they hoped he'd do the same thing for them and that was why they drafted him after he received his degree at the University of Southern California.
Kingman did provide the long ball for the Giants. hitting 29 homers for them in 1972, 25 in 1973 and 18 last year. Those figures were more than offset, however, by his .225, .203 and .223 batting averages the past three seasons, and his strikeout ratio, of once every three times up, was merely an added indictment.
"I tried too hard." says Kingman. "I put too much pressure on myself with the opportunity given me. But I think I'll benefit from the whole situation. Certain ballplayers need a change. and I felt I needed a change.
"Now, with the Mets, it's a complete switch, a new situation, a new everything. It's a fantastic feeling being over here."
Kingman is a relatively young man yet at 26. His baseball future still could be all in front of him and he's aware of that. He doesn't hide the fact he always wanted to play in New York. Why? For the same reason Catfish Hunter did and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar does. More exposure, and more opportunities.
"I like the town," he says. "and I've always hit well in Shea Stadium." Another factor could be that Kingman does promotional work for United Airlines, a company his father worked for 33 years before he died a year ago. If he does well with the Mets, his possibilities, both on and off the field, are limitless and he knows that.
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Meet The Mets
by: MAURY ALLEN, New York Post
April 3, 1975
...The biggest in size and importance Is Dave (Kong) Kingman, 6-6, 210, a 26- year-old bachelor from Millbrae, Cal., obtained for $125,000 in pocket money for the Giants. Hit eight spring home runs, mostly giant-sized, until heel injury scratched him from lineup. He'll be ready for opener. Kingman wears contact lenses, likes to hunt and fish, work with his hands, makes furniture ("A coffee table was my best"), has 77 big league homers, 422 strikeouts and .224 average in four San Francisco seasons. Has superstar capacity if he can make contact and control his temperament. Handsome righthanded slugger is adequate in left field, runs exceptionally well, has strong arm, is bright and articulate, but won't read much. "Too impatient," he says. Loosened up as spring training progressed and his starting role assured. Could be most exciting Met ever.
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Old Hopes Revived: New Dave Kingman? Unlikely
by: ART SPANDER, The Sporting News
April 5, 1975
SAN FRANCISCO--The balls go flying over fences or palm trees. No sooner do they land than the stories begin, blending fact and hope, of this young man who hits home runs so high and far they must have been launched from Cape Canaveral.
He's going to be a new Babe Ruth. Or is it a new Hank Aaron? The least he's going to do is lead the New York Mets to the World Series, driving pitchers crazy and hometown writers into ecstasy. To save time, they might as well hold the Hall of Fame ceremonies right now.
And knowing Dave Kingman, we suggest it probably would be better to hold them now. By the middle of the season, the same writers may be requesting that Kingman be consigned to some less heroic setting. Like the bench.
BUT MAYBE this year will be different. Maybe it will be the year Dave Kingman, frustrations child, does become the new Babe Ruth, the year he lives up to that publicity and gets even with the past.
If this sounds a bit cynical, it is not meant to be. Skeptical would be a better word. Because the paeans have been written, the optimism has been expressed before. And the anticipation remained unfulfilled.
Now Dave Kingman is with a different team, on a different coast, in front of a different manager. And maybe the predictions of the past will be realized in the present. It is sincerely hoped so. Without malice to the Giants, who tolerated Kingman so long--and in turn were tolerated by Kingman.
IN NEW YORK, the stories about Dave Kingman's power and potential may be new. In San Francisco, they are old. They've been written and told so many times they could be chiseled into stone.
It was June 27, 1970, when Dave Kingman signed with the Giants. He'd been a star at the University of Southern California, where in his second year he not only hit .417 with 25 RBIs and eight home runs, but won 11 games as a pitcher. Kingman was not referred to as the next Babe Ruth. Rather, he was "another Frank Howard."
And when, the next summer, appearing in only his second major league game, Kingman had a double and home run against the Pirates, the prophecy seemed about to come true.
Dave Kingman continued to hit home runs during the next three years. When he wasn't striking out. Or sitting on the bench. The dream began to fade. The plans began to disintegrate. The Giants didn't know what to do with him. And vice versa.
THE PROBLEM was many-faceted, involving Kingman's personality, the Giants' lineup and management's thinking. Possibly, if it had been one of the factors, even two, correction would have been possible, even probable. But, taken together, they worked to keep Kingman unhappy, on the bench, or in the doghouse.
Kingman is a pleasant, if a trifle eccentric, sort. On the Giants, he was called Moonman or Moony, and not because he was interested in America's space program. Dave always seemed to be someplace out in the stratosphere.
His major weakness, at least in the eyes of Giant executives, was a startling inability to listen to advice, no matter how reasonable.
When Dave, with only a year's minor league experience, joined the Giants in the summer of '71, he played some left field, some first base and some third base. But by the time Manager Charlie Fox decided where to play him, there was no place to play.
UNTIL THE departure of Willie McCovey before the 1974 season, the Giants had McCovey at first, Ed Goodson at third and Gary Matthews in left field. McCovey was dispensed to San Diego, providing an opening for Kingman.
But Dave was disenchanted. Particularly with Fox. That didn't exactly isolate Kingman from his teammates, but while they responded to new Manager Wes Westrum, Kingman did not.
As early as August, 1973, it was known the Giants wished to trade Kingman. But San Francisco desired to deal for Dave's potential, which then as now was excellent. Interested parties wanted to deal for results only.
When the transaction finally was made, the Giants had been forced to bargain from weakness. Kingman, thoroughly disgusted with the situation in San Francisco, insisted he be sent to another team. Possible buyers, knowing the Giants' position, refused to give San Francisco proper compensation. In the end, the Giants unloaded the new Babe Ruth to the Mets for $100,000.
THERE WAS a measure of disbelief when the sale was announced. The Giants, it was pointed out, were so hard up for cash they were dumping their top players. That's not exactly accurate. No matter what or whom San Francisco received in return, Dave Kingman had to go. For his sake. And the Giants'.
A year ago, Kingman came to the Giants' training camp in Arizona and announced: "I have a whole new philosophy. My thinking has changed. I'm going to forget the past. It's a brand-new slate."
But a few weeks later, the same writing was on the same blackboard. Kingman wanted to hit home runs, with a swing that might stir windmills, and the Giants wanted him to try for singles, even bunt once in a while.
It was inevitable that he would be playing with another team. Now that team is the Mets, and Dave is hitting homers and expressing delight. Let's hope Dave continues. But precedent indicates he will not.
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You Gotta Believe Kingman is Needed
by: AUGIE BORGI, New York Daily News
April 10, 1975
The Giants point to the 422 strikeouts, one in every four at bats, the lifetime .244 average, the fact that Dave Kingman is a Ron Blomberg fielder. Yogi Berra and the Mets never listen.
Having acquired Dave Kingman after two years of trade talks, the Mets Think of Kingman as the eternal phenom with unlimited potential.
Why is there such a wide gap on what Dave Kingman can do? Only Dave Kingman really knows and he doesn't like talking about San Francisco. Except, of course, when he hits an opening day homer, a shot that tells New York there may be a pennant race in both leagues for the city this summer.
"I don't like to talk about what happened in San Francisco," he says. Then he begins. "The Giants gave up on me...Stay off the San Francisco subject. I hope I've found a home here. I'm not going to hit a home run every game, but I hope I'm going to play every day.
"It's a good feeling knowing you're needed, that you're going to get the chance to play. I was told I was going to play every day when I was a Giant, but the promises weren't kept. I was really confused I didn't know 'What to expect. I didn't know what was going on, what was my future. That's why I asked to be traded."
So Horace Stoneham sold Kingman to the Mets for $150,000, a deal the Mets couldn't refuse after the last couple of seasons. "We tried to get him two years ago and we offered them Koosman," Yogi said after Kingman's opening day debut. "But they wanted Matlack. We talked to the Giants about him the day before the trading deadline last year when they weren't playing him. Still Matlack."
The Giants had given up, the Mets were thinking of the future. What did the Mets know that the Giants didn't?
For one thing, the Mets considered Kingman to be an outfielder-first baseman who had never really learned his trade. The Mets thought of Kingman as the Babe Ruth type, a pitcher being taught to play the outfield.
Drafted as Pitcher

"I was drafted out of high school (Mt. Prospect, Ill.) in '67 by the Angels on the second round," Kingman explains. "I was drafted as a pitcher. I feel if I had signed out of high school, I'd still be a pitcher. I really do.
"Rod Dedeaux, my coach, convinced me to give up pitching," Kingman says these days. "He felt I'd be a better hitter. I'd pitch my game; then play the outfield. My last year, my junior year, I was strictly an outfielder. I was drafted by the Giants (first round) and signed."
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Kingman Ascends Throne as New Met Monarch
by: JACK LANG, The Sporting News
April 26, 1975
NEW YORK--Have the Mets solved the riddle the Giants never could? Do they really have baseball's next superstar or just another headache on their hands?
One game does not a season make, but when you total up the progress Dave Kingman made in spring training with the Mets, then add his Shea Stadium debut in pinstripes, you'd have to say they've got a helluva thing going for them.
All the pluses were on Kingman's side after one month with the Mets. He had an outstanding spring, with eight homers and 16 RBIS, cut down on his strikeouts and hit over .300.
West Coast critics who claim to know Dave best are probably giggling and saying to themselves, "Just wait."
MAYBE SO. But Dave Kingman believes in himself as a Met. The Mets believe in Dave Kingman. So do Met fans.
The biggest ovation at Shea Stadium on opening day was for the 6-6 outfielder. They couldn't wait to see him.
Dave did not disappoint. The first time he swung a bat as a Met, he hit a towering fly into the fourth deck in left field. It was foul by plenty but still a sign of the power that even his own teammates refer to as "awesome."
Next time up, after Steve Carlton had gotten two quick strikes on him, Big David reached out and ripped the ball over the left-field fence for a 400- foot-plus homer. Even he was elated with his accomplishment, clapping his hand as he reached home plate. And the fans loved it.
It is obvious to those who have observed the club that Kingman is getting extra special treatment. The Mets, especially the pros on the club, realize the potential in Kingman's bat and are standing close to him.
TOM SEAVER and Joe Torre have taken it upon themselves to cajole, console and consort with this giant of a human being who admits, "I was all confused with the Giants."
"I had 10 different people over there telling me what to do," Kingman relates. "They said I didn't listen. My fault was that I listened to all of them."
With the Mets, only one man has attempted to discuss hitting with Kingman and has gone about it in such a gentle, understanding way that Dave-who met the man only a month ago-now refers to him as "my friend."
"Phil Cavarretta is my friend," he says of the Mets' batting coach. "The day I joined the Mets, he told me he was just going to observe me for a few days. not say a thing, not offer any advice.
"THEN AFTER observing me, he didn't try to change me. He made suggestions. He's with me for what I want to do, not telling me to do something different than I am doing.
"I think spring training was the biggest thing for me. The Mets let me play every day and I proved there that I can cut down on my strikeouts and I can make contact. What I'm doing now is watching the ball real good. Cavarretta has got me doing that."
When Shea Stadium's Little Old Signmaker showed up opening day and flashed a black and white card that read "Super Whiff" after Kingman struck out the first time, Kingman said he never noticed it.
"When I'm hitting, I try to concentrate on the pitcher. To me there are only two people in the park. Me and the pitcher. That's all."
Seaver, who is one of the great thinking pitchers of the modern generation, has tried to implant some of his philosophy of the game with his fellow USC alumnus.
"WE TALKED about the philosophy of hitting in Florida," said Tom Terrific. "I mean the philosophy of hitting rather than hitting itself. I emphasized rhythm and timing to him. It's the same in pitching as in hitting. It's the same as in golf. If you try to hit the ball too hard, you don't hit it as far as you do when vou try to hit it right."
Whether it was intentional or not, Kingman's locker at Shea is right alongside that of Torre, otherwise known as The Godfather.
Torre and Seaver spend equal time with Big David, making sure his spirits are up at all times, keeping him happy and mentally alert to the situation around him. They, know he can mean a pennant to the Mets. As long as Seaver and Torre are around, no matter what their personal problems may be, they will not let Kingman get down on himself.
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Verily, a King Kong Home Run
by: PETE ALFANO, Newsday
June, 1975
FLUSHING - If Michelangelo had painted a portait of Dave Kingman, he might have called it the Agony and the ecstasy. Last night, when the dampness and chill made it feel like San Francisco, Kingman give the Mets and their followers a bit of both emotions.
It was with the Giants that Kingman first displayed the awesome power that made people want to pace off the distance of each home run he hit. It was with the Giants that he made those people shake their heads from side to side with each strikeout or misplay in the field. After four years, it was the Giants who finally sent Kingman and a promise to the Mets for nothing more than cold, hard cash.
"In a way it makes you wonder why they didn't at least get a player for him," said Mike Phillips, who was Kingman's teammate in San Francisco. "They just got money."
It was $100,000 according to published reports but it might have been less. Whatever it was, it seemed worth it to the Mets last night when Kingman's three-run home run was the difference in their 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros.
"He has happiness here," Phillips said. "It's a fresh start. With the Giants, everyone was trying to help Dave. Even I used to tell him what I thought he was doing wrong. He wanted to satisfy them but he was trying too hard.
Kingman may have found peace of mind in New York but his statistics are similar to those of previous years. After two hits against the Astros-- including his seventh homer--his average was .223, one point below his career average.
Even while the fans still were making that familiar buzzing sound they make after they have been impressed, Kingman made a poor play on a line drive he should have caught, helping the Astros to a two-run inning.
"No doubt, I should have had it," Kingman said. It came in the sixth inning after the Mets had built a 4-1 lead. Tom Hall, making an infrequent start, walked Roger Metzger to open the inning. Cesar Cedeno hit a low, dipping line drive which Kingman charged but could not hold onto. His throw to third was mishandled by Joe Torre for an error, allowing Metzger to score. Another walk and a bunt single by Enos Cabell loaded the bases.
Yogi Berra brought in Bob Apodaca, who got Milt May to hit into a double play, one run scoring from third. Apodaca was nearly perfect the rest of the way, picking up his seventh save. Phillips saved a run in the eighth after Metzger, who homered earlier, led off with a triple. Cedeno sent a one-hopper to Phillips, who fielded it a step from the outfield grass and threw out Metzger at home. "It wasn't as close as I thought it would be," he said.
It preserved Kingman's home run as the game winning hit. Rusty Staub and Ed Kranepool had singled to lead off the fourth inning against Ken Forsch.
Kingman hit the first pitch and no one except the runners moved. Outfielder Greg Gross stood mesmerized and followed the flight of the ball with his eyes, much like players gaze at the planes approaching LaGuardia. The ball cleared the Astros' bullpen and was estimated to have traveled 450 feet. "I'm trying to ignore everything," Kingman said.
"When I leave the ballpark, I forget about baseball. It took me three years to learn how to do it. Everyone likes to play every day, but I didn't even look at the lineup tonight. I knew a righthander was pitching and I wouldn't play."
But a pre-game shower flooded the outfield and Berra did not want to risk Cleon Jones' fragile knee on the slick grass. "I was going out to first base to back up Kranepool during practice" Kingman said. "My name happened to be on the lineup card."
He excites the fans every time he makes contact at bat but making contact has been the biggest challenge of all. Perhaps realizing his ups are. followed too often by draw, Kingman was reluctant to be in the spotlight last night.
"He strikes out but be will hit home runs too." Phillips said. "If he ever learns to make contact consistently, just think of what he'll do."
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Kingman Finds Big Apple Sweet
by: ART SPANDER, San Francisco Chronicle
June 11, 1975
Dave Kingman leaned against the door leading from the locker room concourse, muscled it open against the late-afternoon wind and for the first time In a year stood surrounded by the empty red seats of Candlestick Park.
Everything was the same, the Giants, in their white doubleknits, taking batting practice, fielding ground balls, gossiping around the batting cage. But everything was not the same. Kingman wasn't in one of those Giant uniforms.
Instead, he was in the gray of the New York Mets, a prodigal son returned, now in the enemy camp. And, despite warm greetings and handshakes from his former teammates, not all that happy to be back.
"I don't miss it at all," said Kingman, squinting into a low sun. "It does not give me any added pleasure to play here again."
But he's been giving the Mets pleasure when be plays. Most of the time. Although Dave has struck out 35 times in 129 at bats and is hitting only .225, he leads the Mets with eight home runs. A week ago, he drove in the winning run against the Astros in three games.
"I am highly appreciative of the Giants trading me," said Kingman, who spent four seasons with San Francisco and seemed to become more disenchanted after each. "I can't thank them enough for sending me to the Mets. Everybody has been great to me in New York. My mental outlook is completely different.
Dave does get a bit temperamental now and then. According to one of New York's better journalistic representatives, there was a possibility Mets manager Yogi Berra was going to pinch hit for Kingman just before one of Dave's game-winning hits against Houston.
"If he had taken me out," Kingman remarked later without malice, and maybe without meaning it, "I would have thrown my bat into the upper deck."
Kingman did not play in the opening game of the Mets - Glants series. "I think they're trying some sort of experiment," said Kingman. Berra was more lucid. "He's not playing tonight," explained Yogi, "because someone else is."
But Berra is as pleased about Kingman's presence in a Met uniform as is Dave. "He's done a good job for us," said Yogi. "He went four straight games without striking out once."
The New York fans have taken to Kingman for his long home runs and his long, galloping runs to catch fly balls. The men on the street, the muggers and thieves for instance, however have not been as cordial.
A trusting soul, Dave parked his car, loaded with clothing, on the street near his New York hotel. The car was there the next morning-which is probably an upset of sorts-but the clothing was not.
Maybe they thought Kingman was just visting. He wasn't. He hopes to be in New York for a while.
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Quite a Night for Kingman
by: MAURY ALLEN, New York Post
June 27, 1975
The world will little not nor long remember Dave Kingman's glove. John matlack can never forget it.
The Philles came into Shea last night floating on gossamer wings. They had just swept the Pirates your games at home. They were getting healthy. This would be the start of the pennant push.
"I just hope," said Danny Ozark, a veteran baseball man with an experienced eye, "there isn't a letdown."
There was. Matlack's five hit, eight strikeout 4-2 win saw to that. Kingman helped with his 11th home run, a mere 350-footer dancing merrily into the Phillies' bullpen.
He really helped with his long legs, long arms and glue-filled glove.
"He's a good outfielder and a fast man," said Del Unser, who is both. "I always give him a lot of room because he covers so much ground."
Big First
Matlack got all his runs in the first Inning. Wayne Garrett walked, stole second and scored on a wild pitch as Unser walked and catcher Bob Boone played peekaboo behind his mask and then hide and go seek with the ball. He lost both games. Rusty Staub's single scored Unser.
Ed Kranepool then forced Staub and hustled hard to beat the double play throw. Then Kingman exploded one over the wall (his eighth game-winning hit to lead the club), 26th RBI and 37th hit.
"I've yet to see him hit a line drive homer," said Yogi Berra. "All his home runs are honest."
Kingman, who at best is a one for three hitter, was one for three last night. The other two at bats were strikeouts 41 and 42.
"He chased some bad pitches," said Yogi.
"Sliders," said Kingman.
A good player can fail to hit and still contribute. Kingman was a good ballplayer last night. He contributed with his arm and glove.
In the second inning Boone hit a hard line drive down the left field line. It seemed certain to make the corner for two bases.
"The scouting report helped me on that one," said Kingman. "I knew Boone was a sharp pull hitter and I shaded the line. I caught the ball with a lunge."
With that 6-6 frame eating up grass like a love-sick cow, Kingman caught the baseball and stumbled another two feet before halting.
"I was a little off balance when I finally got to it," he said.
Late Scare
Greg Luzinski, the league leader in homers, hit No. 13 in the fifth and the Phillies got another run in the sixth. Matlack got tough and didn't allow a hit the rest of the wav but had a scare.
Kingman's glove was the difference again.
With two out in the eighth Ollie Brown was safe on Garrett's error. Matlack then jammed Luzinski and the big slugger fought the pitch off and sent a long fly to left center field.
"I didn't think it had a chance to go out when it left the bat," Matlack said. "Then it just kept going."
"I took off after it," said Kingman, "and I thought it might go out. I had the same feeling as Matlack then. I thought the game was tied."
Kingman raced hard along the track in front of the wall from deep left field toward left center.
"If it was a track race," said Unser, "Dave would have been one lane from the wall."
He reached out and caught the ball and the threat was over. His glove had saved the night.
"Luzinski's some strong hitter," said Kingman. "I'm glad I'm not a lefthanded pitcher."
Kingman is getting hot at bat and in the field. The Mets are getting very glad he's a right-handed hitter.
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Luzinski's Power Play
by: FRANK DOLSON, Philadelphia Inquirer
July 6, 1975
...Greg Luzinski got hurt last year and the Phillies searched desperately for a replacement. Anybody who could hit a baseball 500 feet would do.
"We went after (Bobby) Bonds with $350,000," Phillies manager Danny Ozark recalled. "We went after (Dave) Kingman with close to $200,000."
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Kingman's Daily Wish
by: JOSEPH VALERIO, New York Post
July 9, 1975
"Everybody's always talking about my strikeouts," Dave Kingman said as he searched for an answer he had never before given. "If I played everyday, I could strike out maybe 400 times. I have no idea how many home runs I could hit if I played every day. I've never played every day."
"I'd like him to play every day," Yogi Berra said. 'I'd like him to stay hot every day. You never know..."
The Mets paid the Giants more than $100,000 for Dave Kingman's services, but have stunted his growth by alternating him in left field with Cleon Jones and at first base with Ed Kranepool and John Milner.
When asked if it is a difficult adjustment being platooned, Dave said: "I'm happy to be in New York. That's all the adjustment I need."
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Kong's 6 RBI Nip Astros 10-9
by: AUGIE BORGI, New York Daily News
July 21, 1975
Dave Kingman and Cleon Jones relaxed yesterday. Kingman did his relaxing at the plate by crashing two homers as the Mets rallied from 7-1 and 9-6 deficits to beat the Astros, 10-9. Cleon relaxed on the steps on the right end of the dugout, never moving to congratulate Kingman with the rest of the joyous club after the game-winning homer.
"How many RBIs did Kingman get, seven?" Yogi Berra asked. "Six, is that all?"
Yesterday Kingman reminded Yogi Berra of Mickey Mantle. 'You can strike him out twice and you make a mistake the next time, it's gone. Just like Mickey." Quite a tribute.
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Dave Settles a Score
by: HENRY HECHT, New York Post
July 21, 1975
On a day when he had two home runs and six RBIs, Dave Kingman opened and closed with a critique of the official scorers the last two Mets games. A curious fellow, this Kingman.
The Mets beat the Astros 10-9 at Shea yesterday because Kingman hit a game-winning two-out, two-run homer in the eighth and a two-out, three-run homer in the fifth when the Mets rallied from a 1-7 deficit. He has 25 RBIs his last 25 games, seven home runs the last 17 games and a climbing .242 batting average. He has started all but one game since June 23. He may be ready to become a very dangerous everyday hitter.
Kingman suppresses a lot of emotion off the field so you didn't expect a giddy 6-6 Met after the game. Serene would have done. But his first words were a cold, "It's very obvious who the official scorer was."
He got a borderline error Saturday from one official scorer he thinks is too harsh. Yesterday's scorer was relatively lenient. Kingman talked about how discouraging unfair scorers are. Was he doing his best to avoid all the good things he'd just done?
Kingman is a cautious man after all the frustration in San Francisco. Yesterday he said he was getting some good pitches to hit, that you can go into a slump as quickly as a streak, that he feels relaxed now, shucks, fellas, it was just one of those days when everything went right.
Relax, the key word, something Kingman was willing to talk about. "It's something that takes a long time to learn," Kingman said. "You have to take every day as it comes. When you have three, four bad days in a row, that's when you really have to relax. I come to the park and I don't look at the stats, that's something I've never done before. I wouldn't even know how many home runs I have except I hear people talking."
He hears 18 home runs, 47 RBIs and 68 Ks in 248 at-bats. He's the only truly exciting Met because his next swing is always a potential 500-foot home run. He hit an 0-1 pitch off Wayne Granger to win the game yesterday and the strike was a towering foul pop a few rows into the stands behind third. Even that was worth watching: it was so high you had no idea if it would be the third out or out of play. The more Kingman relaxes the more he'll excite. . . and please Phil Cavaretta, the first hitting coach the Mets have ever had.
"I just made minor adjustments and worked on his confidence," Cavaretta said softly. "The tools are there, a lot of it's mental. I haven't seen too many players with such strength and quick hands."
What Cavaretta has worked on is stopping Kingman from lunging and over-swinging and leveling out the swing. It's not as technical as it sounds. When you try too hard you can't wait for the pitch. When you're trying to hit a home run every pitch because you think people expect as much you overswing and uppercut too much.
"maybe people expected too much from him," Cavaretta said. He's 59 and quite mellow, probably the perfect type to help Kingman. "When you're too anxious you tend to make your body do the work, you lunge instead of letting your hands do the work. And his hands are so strong and quick. One thing I'' never do is try to take his aggressiveness away because then you're defeating your purpose with Dave Kingman.
"Phil hasn't made any drastic changes, he's taught me to relax," Kingman said, He smiled widely when someone mentioned he was the one thrilling Met, "Oh. I just go out and do my jobÖand throw a helmet now and then." End of smile, and with no prompting, an abrupt turn. "I just can't tell you the difference it makes about the official scorer."
Relax, Dave, relax.
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Relaxed Kingman Arrives in Chicago with Hot Bat
by: BOB FRISK, Daily Herald (Chicago suburbs)
July 26, 1975
His home runs always have been conversation pieces.
The ball soars and the stories begin.
A new Babe Ruth? Or is it a new Henry Aaron?
The ball rockets out of sight, clearing fences or palm trees or buildings or rivers or whatever he happens to be hitting.
Do you remember the one he hit in Phoenix? Or Candlestick Park? Or Shea Stadium? Or Fort Lauderdale? Or Wrigley Field? Or Mount Prospect? The kid can't miss, they said in 1970 when he signed with the San Francisco Giants after achieving All-American status with the University of Southern California.
Today, five years later, Dave Kingman, now 26 years old, still remains a mystery to some, a 6-foot-6 slugger who has speed and power but fights a continuing battle to achieve a regular's status, a young man tagged frustration's child by one writer.
Maybe, just maybe, the battles, the frustrations are over. Kingman, the pride of Prospect High School, says he has found peace in New York with the Mets. And he's been a regular at first base and left field for the past month, something that has to help anyone's attitude.
"I'm much more relaxed, my mental attitude is so much better," Kingman told the Herald this week. "I really enjoy New York, the people, everything. They really appreciate the game here and really know their baseball. Sure, they go hot and cold, but they do that in any city.
"All I know is that it's 100 per cent improvement from the way things were in San Francisco."
Kingman had 19 home runs and 50 runs-batted in after Tuesday night's action, not bad at all for someone who has missed 25 per cent of the club's games.
"Just being in the lineup on a regular basis has made all the difference," be said as be prepared to head for Chicago's Wrigley Field, one of his favorite hitting spots, and a weekend series with the Cubs that starts today.
"For one thing, there aren't that many lefthanders in the league, and when I was platooned, I didn't get that many chances. And then when you're used strictly against lefthanders, it puts that much more pressure on you. You're expected to hit them."
Kingman admits that his major problems through the year were mental; he was putting too much pressure on himself.
"In San Francisco I listened to everyone rather than rely on my own Instincts," he said. It got to be confusing. Phil Cavarretta, our hitting instructor here, has been a big help to me because he's very patient. He told me from the start he wasn't going to make any drastic changes.
"I'm not striking out nearly as much although they still come. I'm watching the ball well, taking a healthy cut but making contact. Relaxation . . . confidence . . . that's so important."
Kingman is one of those phenomenally strong athletes. He looks skinny but when his brief batting stroke connects, the ball explodes.
At Phoenix in the minors, his general manager Rosy Ryan said: "Dave Kingman turns the wind around."
In New York's Shea Stadium he once hit a ball that cleared the bullpen in left field and struck the Giants' team bus parked outside. On a rare windless day in San Francisco's Candlestick Park, he broke his bat on a pitch and still hit ft over the right field fence. In Little Rock, Ark. one of his home runs broke a window in the National Guard Armory across the street from the park, and he hit, a tape-measure shot in Fort Lauderdale last spring that shocked even the most veteran observers.
Kingman was more known for his pitching efforts as a youngster In the Herald area, but they still talk about his final game at. Prospect when he smashed three home runs, including a towering shot to leftfield that has never been equaled.
"I went against my theory of coaching with Dave," recalled Arlington Heights American Legion manager Lloyd Meyer, a respected teacher of the game. "I'll usually get a right handed kid to go to right field first and then, as his strength and maturity develop, go to left. I want them thinking right field so that rather than pull an outside pitch, they'll just push it to right. It helps develop better bat control.
"But with Kingman," Meyer continued, "I saw he was so strong with such long arms, and such a pull hitter, that I didn't encourage a switch. But now that I've seen him through the years, I wish I had made him go that way. I want kids to wait, wait, wait up there, and the few times I have seen Dave in the majors -be does seem to get far out in front. But the way he's going lately, maybe he's curing some of those habits. He was a streak hitter even with us." Kingman always wanted to be a pitcher so didn't concentrate that much on his hitting, but Rod Dedeaux, his coach at USC, switched him to the outfield after his frosh year.
"I was completely against it," Dave remembered. "I wanted no part of the move. I just wanted to pitch, but the coach thought my future was with the bat. I fought it, but It's certainly worked out for the best." Dedeaux once recalled: "Yes, Dave was hesitant about moving, but I told him he had a chance to be a great one - I mean somebody like Musial or Mays or Aaron - and he changed."
Kingman made a big splash when he was first brought up to the Giants in 1971, but a pattern developed during the next three years. He continued to hit home runs - when he wasn't striking out or sitting on the bench. He was confused, frustrated.
The dream began to fade, the plans began to disintegrate. The Giants didn't know what to do with him. And vice versa.
Finally, Kingman, thoroughly disgusted with the roller-coaster situation in San Francisco, insisted he be sent to another team. He went to New York last spring for $100,000.
It's no secret the Mets needed a righthanded power hitter, but Dave still struggled at the outset of the season to earn status as a regular.
Kingman has been a streak hitter but even in a slump, he hits home runs and that's why the Mets finally realized, maybe too late, it is almost imperative that he play every day. They have the pitching to catch the league leaders, but they also need the bats. Kingman leads the team in game-winning hits.
Hitting is the way a man gets aggressions out of his system, and Dave is an aggressive ballplayer. He's a delight to watch with a bat in his hands.
He bends over crablike at the plate, his legs wide planted. It looks a little uncomfortable, but you don't judge a hitter by his stance,
The balls go flying and no sooner do they land than the stories begin again, blending fact and hope, of this talented and powerful young man.
Dave Kingman. A dominating force in baseball? Maybe the predictions of the past will be realized in the present.
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Dr. Superstar & Mr. Strikeout: The 2 Selves of Dave Kingman
by: JOE GERGEN, Newsday
July 27, 1975
He is a source of strength. He is a cause for concern. Opposing pitchers eye Dave Kingman warily; the Mets do the same.
They are awed by his power. His composure remains suspect. So the Mets tread cautiously lest inside that body, which one teammate likens to steel, is exposed a fragile psyche. They have everything to gain by winning his confidence.
It is a new sensation for the Mets, the sight of a man with Kingman's capabilities at the plate. Their list of genuine Louisville sluggers begins and ends with Frank Thomas, who bit 34 home runs in the first year of the team's existence when home games were conducted in a misshapen baseball stadium called the Polo Grounds. "Baseball fans want a home run every at-bat," Kingman says. "I know I did when I was a kid."
Kingman has done his best to oblige this season. He has hit one home run for every 13 official at-bats, the highest ratio in the National League. He also has struck out an average of once per game, leading the Mets to believe all their troubles-and his-are not yet over.
"He has been making better contact." Yogi Berra says. "We try to get him to cut down on his swing. Sometimes, he does it. Sometimes, he overswings." And Berra underlines the problem with a managerial shrug.
The best and the worst of Kingman was on display in consecutive games last week. On Thursday, against the Cincinnati Reds, he struck out four times in five at-bats, stranding seven runners. The following day in Chicago, against the Cubs, Kingman homered and had three singles. "It's a funny game," Kingman says, "a peculiar game. And hitting is more peculiar than any other aspect of the game."
It is Kingman's contention that his past difficulties, those which confined him to the bench for much of his last two seasons spent with the San Francisco Giants, were more mental than physical. "I got discouraged quite a bit, not playing every day," he says. "I put pressure on myself trying to get back into the lineup. I'd try to do something spectacular and that only makes things worse."
Kingman says he left that philosophy, the kind which demands nothing less than a home run in each appearance, in San Francisco. The Mets can only hope that is the case. Meanwhile, they do what they can to shore up his self-esteem.
On Thursday, with the tying and winning runs on base in the ninth inning and the Reds calling for a right-handed relief pitcher specifically to pitch to Kingman, Berra resisted the temptation to send up a left-banded pinch-hitter. "I don't want to hurt his confidence," Berra said. That left Kingman raging over his game ending strikeout rather than leaving the thought that the Mets found him inadequate in that situation.
It may or may not have had a significant impact on Friday's performance, but it certainly did not have any ill effects. And Phil Cavaretta, the team's batting coach, is quick to list his contributions as "making a few minor adjustments and instilling confidences."
The Mets, it appears, have few doubts about Kingman's physical talents. "If he just keeps his head about him," Joe Torre says, "it's limitless how many homers be can hit."
Even the Giants, who let him go for mere money this spring, agree on that. "I can't foresee him ever not becoming an outstanding player," says Charlie Fox, the former Giant manager and now a special assignment scout for the organization. 'It's just a matter of patience on his part and on the part of the learn. I think our organization was partly at fault. He really hasn't played that much. I think we rushed him a little."
Kingman burst onto the National league scene late in the 1971 season, hitting a grand slam in his first game and making a major league contribution to the Giants' drive to their last division championship. That followed on the heels of a remarkable partial season in the Pacific Coast league where he batted .278 with 26 homers and 99 runs batted in for Phoenix in only 105 games.
That year in Triple A, he was phenomenal says shortstop Mike Phillips, a teammate then and a teammate now with the Mets." Everything he hit was hard. I don't care if it was straight up in the air. It was hard. He was scary. A man that big hitting .280. No one wanted to pitch to him."
He hit 29 homers and drove in 83 runs for the Giants in 1972 but his average dipped to .225 and by 1973 he was a platoon player. He did not take it well.
"I had trouble enjoying the game when I wasn't playing," Kingman says. "I asked myself what could I do sitting on the bench. I tried to figure out what the true answer was. And then, not being in the lineup every day, I started to press. I tried to do too much too soon."
A slow recovery from knee surgery by Cleon Jones gave Kingman an opportunity to play every day with the Mets and he cemented the job with eight home runs in spring training. He got off to a poor start, was benched for a time, but has come back strong. He has averaged an RBI per game over the last month and now ranks among the league leaders in homers with 21.
"I took him out because he wasn't making contact," Berra says. "Then he started again after the West Coast trip. He's a guy who can strike out twice but if you make a mistake, he can break up a game. Mantle was like that."
Comparison with other players, particularly star players, elicits little response from Kingman. "I used to think like that," he says, "about the predictions made about me, the comparisons with others. Now I don't. I realize every player is different. I'm just trying to go out and do what Dave Kingman can do. I'm not concerned with what others think I can do. If I do that, I can't relax. And if I don't relax, I can't hit. It's all a chain reaction."
He speaks softly, as if not to call attention to his size; and very slowly. Frequently, he pauses in the midst of a conversation, his eyes apparently searching the far corners of the room for the exact words to describe his feelings. He is 26 years old, a few credits shy of a degree from he University of Southern California and he wants to be clearly understood.
"I am an intense player, very intense," he says. "I'm an aggressive player. I hope it's something I never lose. Some players are easy-going. I've never been that way. It's just my personality."
"The way a ball player plays on the field, the way he conducts himself, that tells you the kind of person he is. I try to be aggressive in whatever I do, whatever field of activity I'm in."
That would explain the occasional flip of the bat and batting helmet and the wide-eyed stare that sometimes greets reporters after a tough game. "I admit I'm highstrung at times," he says. "It's hard for me to stay on an even keel. It's very hard for me to take rough times with a smile on my face."
In the clubhouse, where behavior is as relaxed as the law will allow, Kingman is more spectator than participant, apparently content to sit at his locker and watch the passing parade. It has led to misconceptions on the part of several members of the organization.
"He's a quiet guy," says Phillips, who was acquired from the Giants in a separate transaction this season. "I won't say a loner. But he goes his own way. He's not rude about it, it's just that sometimes he wants to go out and sometimes he doesn't. I like him. I think he's a terrific person."
And if he doesn't seem the type of person, with his basic wardrobe of jeans and boots, who would find New York to his liking, that is another misconception. "Being in New York motivates me all the more," Kingman says. "If anyone is to make it in this game, it has to be in New York.
"It's hard for me to talk about what might happen in New York. I'm a newcomer here. But I've observed what happened to Willie Mays , what he's done for the town and what it's done for him. And I know how good New York can be.
Everything I heard about New York is coming true. In the same breath, there's a lot of criticism. But that's what Makes New York New York. People say what they feel, and it, seems everyone knows what everyone else feels."
For now there is a bachelor apartment in Queens, with frequent trips into Manhattan for dinner and shows. There is a job in sales waiting after the baseball season with United Airlines, for whom his father, Arthur, was employed for 33 years before his death a year ago.
"I like to keep my mind off baseball when I'm away from the park," he says, "and it's hard to lead a life outside baseball in New York. People you run into always want to talk about it. It's hard to have a private life in New York because people are continually trying to find out what you're doing. There are things I don't want everyone to know. We're individuals, too. It's just that instead of putting on a white collar every day, we put on uniforms."
Kingman has been putting on a baseball uniform for as long as he can remember, starting in Pendleton, Ore., and continuing through Denver, Los Angeles and Chicago as his family moved. He had big plans then, but the plans involved another position.
"I was a pitcher as a kid," he says. "I always enjoyed hitting, but I was strictly a pitcher up until my final year of college. My whole thinking was along pitching lines."
The California Angels, in fact, drafted him as a pitcher out of Mt. Prospect, Ill., High School. But Kingman decided to attend Southern Cal, where the competition was on a par with the minor leagues and the surroundings were infinitely superior.
"Rod Dedeaux [the USC coach] finally convinced me to change," Kingman says. "I was reluctant. His whole idea was that I could be a better hitter than pitcher. I often wonder about it. I'll never know. I've completely given up the idea, but it's fun to think what I might have done. I was wild, I know that. But there's a lot of wild pitchers winning up here."
Possessed of a major-league arm and excellent speed for a man six feet, six inches tall, Kingman has a chance to be the complete player even if he has his lapses on defense. In four major league seasons he has been employed at every position except catcher, shortstop and second base.
"He can really do everything well," Fox says. "The reason we had him at third base is he could move better than almost anyone else we had. I think if a team can play him at one position and leave him there for a year, he'll be fine. There's no doubt in my mind he's going to be one of the outstanding players in the league before long."
"The tools are there, that's for sure," Cavarretta says. "Possibly, they [the Giants] expected too much of the boy. That might have put a lot of pressure on him. You probably find that with most long-ball hitters.
"He's got a quick bat, A lot of times this is one of his faults. He gets out front too quick, and it develops into a lunge. He has very quick hands, quick wrists. He don't have to hit a ball exceptionally hard. He can hit a ball above the trademark and still put it out of the park."
That, above all, is what distinguishes him from the vast majority of players. His power. Kingman's pop-ups threaten the flight patterns over Shea Stadium. His home runs evoke gasps of Excitement.
"As far as the balls he hits, its [Willie] McCovey," Torre gays. "McCovey is a better hitter. Dave swings with more of an uppercut. But as far as the way the balls go out of the park, he's like McCovey. The ball just keeps going and going."
"He's like that steel post ever there," Phillips says, pointing to the pillar across from his locker. "He's so strong. It's a God-given talent. I'll put him up against anyone. And not just now, but from any time."
Kingman says it would not really be much of a contest. "I'm not that physically strong," he claims. "I can't be compared to Luzinski or Stargell or McCovey. They're home run hitters who muscle the ball out. I don't muscle the ball ... I take advantage of my long arms. They give me extra leverage."
He has taken advantage of that leverage often enough this season to allow the Mets hope they struck gold when they pried Kingman from the Giants. He may yet be the player he might have been.
"I'm more relaxed now," he says. "I just go from day to day. I'm completely unconscious of my average, my homers, unless someone mentions it. I've learned to handle the different phases of 'he game, the not playing, the platooning. Whether you go 10-for-10 or 0-for-10, you have to forget it and start over the next day. You have to realize you can't hit a home run every time at bat. That would be inhuman."
The Mets will have to take satisfaction in Kingman's all-too-human nature. Happily, you can't strike out every time at bat, either.
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Dave Kingman: Patience Helps
by: GLENN DICKEY, San Francisco Chronicle
July 30, 1975
The New York Mets are the latest club to benefit from the Giants' largesse, as Dave Kingman has become the first legitimate power hitter for the Mets since Frank Thomas hit 34 home runs in the club's first year, 1962.
The Giants maneuvered themselves into a familiar position with Kinggman this spring, having so alienated the former USC star that he had to be sold to the Mets. Kingman started slowly with the Mets, playing on a platoon basis early in the season, but then hit his way into the lineup. Through the weekend, though his batting average was only .252, he had 54 RBIs and. 22 home runs in less than 300 at-bats. As a point of reference, those 22 home runs were twice what the leading Giant home run hitter, Bobby Murcer, had at that point.
Kingman has not conquered the strikeout tendency that so bothered the Giant management; he is still striking out at a better than once in four at-bats ratio. But Mets' manager Yogi Berra has learned to live with that. I once suggested the Giant manager should shut his eyes when Kingman is at the plate. Perhaps Berra does.
None of what Kingman is doing for the Mets is surprising. When he came up t6 the Giants, it was with an advance billing from USC coach Rod Dedeaux as the best athlete he had ever coached, and Dedeaux has coached a few. He had awesome power and great speed, and it seemed be would eventually be a star for the Giants.
But he never really got a chance with the Giants. Manager Charlie Fox moved him in and out of the lineup, shifted him around here and there. It was Fox's fond belief that Kingman could become a third baseman, though first base and the outfield were obviously more natural positions for Dave.
Periodically, Fox (and later, Wes Westrum) would make the statement, "The position is Kingman's until he plays his way out of it." That always came quickly enough. Kingman would make a couple of errors or strike out three times in a game, and he would be back on the bench.
Kingman was always a player who required extra patience from a manager. He was a brooder, inclined to get down on himself easily, and he needed regular playing time to keep his big swing intact. But instead of more patience, he got less.
His career with the Mets started out in much the same way as his Giants' career, he was platooned and he complained, saying he sbould be playing regularly. When he did that with the Giants, Fox gave up on him. Berra didn't, and he has been rewarded for, his patience.
Soon, Kingman was in the lineup every day, usually in the outfield . "He's played well in the outfield," says Mets' publicity director Harold Weissman, "and he's proved he should play every day."
More, than his seasonal statistics, one three game stretch for Kingman last week showed what a difference Berra's patience has meant. In the first game, against Cincinnati, Dave had an outstanding game, driving in six runs. In the next game, in Chicago, he struck out four times, chasing an outside pitch each time, and left the tying run on base in the ninth when he struck out for the fourth time.
That performance was exactly the kind that used to frustrate Fox and Westrum. With the Giants, he would have been riding the bench the next day. Berra played him and Kingman responded with a four-for-five day, knocking in the winning run.
The observations that could be made about Kingman when he was a Giant still apply: He will probably never hit for average, and he will always strike out frequently. But he will also hit a lot of home rum and knock in a lot of runs; equally important, he will be a good, drawing card because he does everything, hit, home runs or strike out, on a grand scale.
He is exactly what the Giants have needed in recent years, both as a player and a gate attraction. It's too bad they weren't smart enough to realize that when they had him.
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The Sky's the Limit for Kingman
by: HENRY HECHT, New York Post
August 1, 1975
One of these days, Dave. . .
"I have no idea of my capabilities,í Dave Kingman insisted. "This is my fourth year in the big leagues and Iíve never played a full year."
But Dave, how many. . .
"I'd" love to be able to answer that for you," But you can't. "No, I can't. That's exactly right."
The Dave Kingman Legend grows. Last night he hit two home runs off Jim Rooker, the second a two-run game-winning job four skyscrapers high deep into the leftfield bleachers. It broke a 2-2 eighth-inning tie as the Mets and Jerry Koosman beat the Pirates 6-2 in the opener of this crucial five game series.
The tall man with the nuclear-powered bat now has 24 home runs and 60 RBIs with a climbing .260 average. His 13 July home runs are a club record (Tommie Agee, 11) for one month. He has 38 RBIs in his 38 games. Forty home runs for 1975 Is a distinct possibility. Fifty home runs for 1976 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982 is a distinct possibility. Kingman says he will refuse to pay attention to any such numbers.
"That personal stuff can hinder me," Kingman said. "In the past I was very conscious of what I was doing, I thought I had to do something extra every day that I played if I wanted to play the next day. I still check the lineup every day, I don't just assume I'm gonna play."
You get the impression Kingman is trying to deny his success, to pretend it hasn't happened, worried that a momentary high might produce a monumental low. He knows he can still look foolish chasing bad pitches. Three times in the last 10 games he struck out in the last inning of a close game on pitches more than a foot outside. But he also has 14 game-winning hits, eight more than runner-up Rusty Staub.
For the first time In his tormented career Kingman listened to just one batting coach, gentle Phil Cavarretta. He is finally learning to relax. He's getting a chance to play every day after being platooned the first two months. He's playing like he'll never sit down again.
Here's how badly he wanted to play every day earlier this year. He bunted three times in five at-bats against left-handed pitchers in Montreal last month. That was just before he started playing regularly. His rationale? If Yogi Berra wasn't going to give him a chance to hit home runs against right-handers, why, he'd show him, he wouldn't hit them against left-handers, either. The logic is a bit twisted but Dave Kingman had a lot of gut-twisting, psyche-crushing experience in San Francisco.
That pitter-patter strategy lasted until the Montreal bench taunted him about the bunts. He hit the next pitch for a long home run.
"I don't think a slump is gonna affect me like it used to," Kingman said, arms folded across a bare chest, his left foot poking around a laundry basket filled with doubleknits.
"Iíve had a few bad days in a row recently, desperately bad days," Kingman said. "In the past that would've started a slump. Not now. Now all it takes for me to get going again is to hit one ball hard. That's where I've made progress. Now all I want to do is play one full year.
"I read what's written about me in the papers and I'm flattered but I don't pay it any attention. It doesnít put any additional motivation in me. I already know what pressure that's applied by yourself can do."
"Now I completely forget about what's happened to me the game before. I'm having a good time, I'm watching the ball and tonight I just hit two mistakes. I don't consider myself on a hot streak, I just think of it as one particular at-bat and the next particular at-bat."
Itís just that the last six weeks have made us expect more from each particular at-bat. Those dramatic home runs and those fateful strikeouts create a special kind of drama the Mets never had before the Coming of Kingman.
"I hate to miss one at-bat with Dave," Koosman said after winning his 10th game. "He's capable of hitting a baseball farther than anybody in the game and you'd hate to miss it. One of these days someone'll throw an extra-hard fastball and the air'll be light that day and he'll knock the ball out of the stadium someplace."
And what he does until then should be pretty exciting, too.
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Kingman Establishes Mets' Homer Record
September 20, 1975
Dave Kingman said he "knew it was out" when he hit it. Usually, when Kingman connects, the question is not whether itís going out of the park, but whether itís going out of the country. As the old line goes, he can hit it out of every park, including Yellowstone.
When he hit one out of Shea Stadium Thursday night, a two-run shot in the ninth inning that gave the New York Mets a 7-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Kingman became the Metsí new home run king.
It was his thirty-fifth this season, surpassing the mark set by frank Thomas in 1962, the Metsí first year.
"I donít know how important it is having my name in the record books," Kingman said. "It doesnít mean as much, since weíre out of the pennant race. Maybe when Iím 80 and sitting in a rocking chair it will mean something.?
"I wasnít trying to hit home runs but I was very conscious of the record," added Kingman, who had gone into a slump after tying Frank Thomasí mark last week. "The fans, the scoreboard, the writers, everyone I knew, everyone I ran into reminded me. It was impossible not to think about."
"Iíd be lying if I said I didnít enjoy it," Kingman said. "It would be easy to say I showed the Giants (who sold him to the Mets before the season started), but I donít bear any animosity. Iím just glad to be here, glad to have 35 home runs. And I hope to do better next year."
Becoming the Metsí home run champion doesnít take the heat off Kingman. Heís two shy of Mike Schmidtís total of 37, tops in the major leagues. But Kingman insists he isnít thinking in terms of confrontation.
"Iím not competing with anybody," he said. "If Iím competing with anyone, itís with myself. Iíll just do the best I can. Iím obviously not going to stop taking a big cut."
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Other 1975 Photos & Clippings

Page from Mets Yearbook

Playing 1B

Playing LF

Playing 3B

Dave & Phil Cavaretta

Dave & Manager Yogi Berra

Bob Koppel)

Bob Koppel)

Bob Koppel)

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Trading cards Copyright 1976: Topps Gum Company, SSPC, Hostess Foods, Crane Potato Chips

Press excerpts Copyright 1975: San Jose Mercury, New York Times, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle, St. Petersburg Times, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Sporting News, Assiciated Press, New York Daily News, New York Post, UPI, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily Herald

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