Why I Like Dave
Once in a while someone ridicules me because Dave Kingman is my favorite baseball player. Sometimes it's real easy to humble that person. All I have to do is ask who their favorite player is, and I can usually harp on that player's obvious character flaw. Dwight Gooden? Albert Belle? Barry Bonds? Steve Howe? Those guys have skeletons. Dave Kingman is just misunderstood. Kingman, like Steve Carlton, didn't have a good relationship with the media. He tried to be nice to the media (unlike Carlton), and was burned because of it.
Another knock against Kingman is his propensity to strike out. Sure, he struck out a lot. Most power hitters do. Contrary to widely held belief, Dave Kingman is only fifth on the Career Strike-Out list.
- #1 is Reggie Jackson with 2,597 K's (Yet people only remember 3 Homers on 3 pitches in the World Series).
- #2 is Willie Stargell with 1,936 (Remembered more for his leadership than his K's).
- #3 is Mike Schmidt with 1,883 (Dave's NL rival, who never had the arm Kong had, but had a better relationship with the press).
- #4 is Tony Perez with 1,867 (Considered one of the Big Red Machine's best clutch-hitters).
- #5 is Dave Kingman with 1,816--Yet he also produced. 442 career home runs & 1,210 career RBI's.
Unlike the above current and future Hall-of-Famers, Kingman continually gets bashed for striking out so much. One thing's for sure--with Dave in the lineup, no lead was ever safe.
In 1978 I was 9 years old and just then starting to learn baseball. I lived on Chicago's Northwest side, and became a Cub fan (not because I was on the North side, but because they were on TV more than the White Sox). Whether it was wiffle ball, fast-pitch, lob, or pinners, my friends would always pick their favorite player and try to emulate them in the field. Bill Buckner was always picked, while Bobby Murcer, Mike Vail, Chet Lemon, and Oscar Gamble were also popular. No one was more popular than Dave Kingman.
I finally learned most baseball fundamentals by the 1979 season, and that was the year I became a huge Dave Kingman fan. Why?
From then on, I always wore #10 or #26 on my uniforms. I always pretended I was Dave Kingman at the plate, striking fear into not only the opposing pitcher, but the pedestrians outside the stadium who might be hit by another mammoth dinger. 1980 was a bittersweet season, as Dave's honeymoon with the Chicago media ended and he subsequently left the Cubs. But I kept following his career, and now you can too with this web site I created. Enjoy.
- 1979 was his best year, jacking 48 home runs with 115 RBI's while hitting a career high .288.
- I watched on WGN-TV as Dave cranked 3 homers in a spectacular 10-inning 23-22 loss to the Phillies at Wrigley Field.
- In that 23-22 game, Dave hit one home run so hard that it landed on the street intersecting Waveland Avenue...THREE houses from the corner!
- I watched on WGN-TV as Dave hit a breaking ball 3 rows into dead-centerfield at Wrigley Field...WITH ONE HAND!
- Dave hit balls that careened off the roof of Montreal's Olympic Stadium and Houston's Astrodome.
- The Chicago sportswriters were starving for good news, so they latched on the Kingman Express, trumpeting his feats whenever possible.
- Even the Chicago Tribune tried to capitalize on the Kingman-ia by printing a column from him in the paper.
1979 Picture of John Kuczaj (age 10) and Dave Kingman
1997 Picture of John Kuczaj (age 28) and Dave Kingman
Back to the Main page