Big Klu

“How hard is hitting? Walk into a pitch black room with furniture that you have never been in before..and then try to walk through it without bumping into anything. Well, it’s harder than that.”
Ted Kluszewski

Ted Kluszewski played in the Major Leagues for 15 seasons. “Klu”was a four-time All-Star (1953-56) who had his best years with the Cincinnati Reds.

In 1954, Ted hit 49 home runs while striking out only 35 times. In 1955, he hit 47 homers and only struck out 40 times. Ted Kluszewski hit .300 or better eight times and finished his career with a lifetime batting average of .298.

The Reds signed Ted off the campus of Indiana University where he played both baseball and football. Back problems plagued Ted throughout the final six years of his career.

Ted Kluszewski was one of the smartest and nicest people I ever have met. I got to know him  because “Klu” was the Cincinnati Reds hitting coach and Minor League Hitting Coordinator when the Indianapolis Indians were the Reds’ Triple-A Affiliate. He taught so many young players (and a young broadcaster) so much about baseball.

I only saw him play during the end of his career. I do remember him hitting two home runs in Game One of the 1959 World Series for the White Sox. I remember Ted telling a young Ron Oester that he did not want Ron “giving 110%” He wanted him at 95-98% so he wouldn’t “be trying too hard”.

Ted told me that during the 1950’s pitchers were not concerned about their ERA’s. They only cared about winning and always “pitched to the score”.

Many great hitters are not articulate about the subject of hitting. Ted was a terrific hitter who was a great teacher of hitting. Having said all that about Ted, many people remember him because his biceps were so big he had to cut his uniform sleeves.

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