The ninth greatest Red of all time is “Big Klu,” Ted Kluszewski. The big slugger played 11 years in the Queen City. He was a well-rounded player at the plate. He hit .302 with 251 home runs and nearly 900 RBI’s in a Reds uniform.
Those numbers are good enough to put Kluszewski at number 5 on the Reds all time home run list and #8 on the team’s all time RBI men. He was a four time all star as well.
The big first baseman called the Queen City home from 1947-1957 before the Redlegs traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
|CIN (11 yrs)||1339||4961||745||1499||244||23||251||886||406||292||.302|
Kluszewski’s best season in Cincinnati came in 1954 where he led the National League in both home runs and RBI. He hit .326 that season as well, but came up short in his bid for MVP. 1952-1956 were his best seasons in Cincinnati as his production fell off in 1957, and he was traded the following season.
What man Big Klu even more famous than his numbers was his uniform. He was famous for his sleeveless look that struck fear into the opposing pitcher. Kluszewski, 6’2 and 240 pounds, said that he cut the sleeves off of his uniform because the sleeves on his big biceps and shoulders, constricted his swing.
In a 1956 article inSports Illustrated, Robert Creamer desribed Kluszewski’s swing: “He swings his bat with none of Ted Williams’ grace, or Stan Musial’s precision, or Mickey Mantle’s explosive coordination. He holds the bat no more than half way back, it seems, more like a man with a fly swatter who is willing to land heavily on the fly if it comes within reach but who isn’t about to get excited over the chase.” Indeed, Kluszewski’s arms were none like any in the game.
No player was like Kluszewski and no player ever will be. There was no flash in his game, just raw power and hitting prowess. The most impressive thing about Kluszewski’s career was his strikeout rate. He struck out just 365 times in 15 major league season in 5,929 career at-bats. Former Red Adam Dunn struck out over half that many times in one season with the Reds.
With rare power and plate discipline, Kluszewski is one of the most feared hitters to ever wear a Redlegs uniform.