Theodore Bernard Kluszewski also known as “Big Klu” was a professional American basketball player with four teams between 1947 and 1961. Ted Kluszewski played first base for the Cincinnati Reds for 11 of his 15 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). 1st His 10 RBI in the 1959 World Series with the Chicago White Sox set a major record for a six-game series.
|Full Name||Theodore Bernard Kluszewski|
|Date Of Birth||September 10, 1924|
|Birth Place||Chicago, USA|
|Mother||Josephine Gatarska Kluszewski|
|Height||6 ft 2 in|
|Death||29 Mar 1988|
Ted Kluszewski was born of Polish descent in Summit, Illinois on September 10, 1924, 14 miles west from the Comiskey Park of Chicago. At Argo Community High School he was a standout football and baseball player. He went to Bloomington Indiana University and played all sports. He was a member of the Hoosiers football powerhouse in 1945, finishing with a record of 9-01. He hit 443 with their baseball team the same year. Left batted and left threw Kluszewski. For Cincinnati Reds, Kluszewski made his MLB debut on 18 April 1947. Kluszewski experimented with Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago White Sox. The career of Kluszewski ended in 1961 with the Los Angeles Angels.
Ted Kluszewki’s Baseball Career
The Cincinnati Reds, usually in Tampa, Florida, had to practice from the University of Indiana from 1943 until 1945, because of the limitations on travel during a war. Kluszewski, a university undergraduate, attracted Red’s groundkeeper Matty Schwab’s attention. Schwab saw Kluszewski throwing balls over a diamond grove that none of the Reds players could get close to. Cincinnati Red scouts are intrigued enough, but he did not sign immediately, because Kluszeni, who is also an outstanding close finish in the football team Hoosier, did not want to jeopardize his admissibility to football. After graduation in 1946, he instead signed.
Shortly after Ted Kluszewski joined the Reds in 1947, he cut off his sleeves, a lot to the regret of the Reds’ front office, because the close sleeves restricted his broad biceps and shoulders, and his swing interfered. Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher was asked to naming five of the strongest baseball players, he fulfilled. Kluszewski was made legendary for his strength. Durocher said when it was found out that Ted Kluszewski had quit the list: “Do you want to know what? I’m speaking about people!”
Big Klu” had his best years from 1953 to 1956, hitting a record of 171 home runs during that period. In each of those four seasons, he hit more home runs than strikeouts, making him the first player in major league history to hit 35 or more home runs in four seasons with fewer strikeouts than home runs. Only Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Johnny Mize have managed it more than once in the major leagues. During that four-year stretch, he also drove in over 100 base runners per year, including a league-leading 141 RBIs in 1954.
Before the 1958 season, he was dealt with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He batted.292 with 88 hits and 37 RBIs in 100 games for the Pirates in 1958. He appeared in 60 games for the Pirates in 1959 before being traded to the Chicago White Sox in August, when the team was in a tight pennant race.
His trade to the White Sox for two players on August 25, 1959, offered manager Al López’s first-place White Sox squad the much-needed extra hitting strength they needed to claim the American League Pennant. In the World Series, the Chicago White Sox faced the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kluszewski, who grew up in the Chicago area, hit two home runs and knocked in five runs in an 11–0 rout of the Dodgers in the series’ first game at Comiskey Park. With pitching that neutralized many of the Sox men, the Dodgers will take four of the next five games and win the series.
Ted Kluszewski was chosen by the Los Angeles Angels in the expansion draft after he was left unprotected as Major League Baseball expanded in 1960. In his final season in 1961 was marred by back and leg injuries. He hit two home runs for the Angels against the Baltimore Orioles at Memorial Stadium on April 11, the season’s first day of play, when the Angels beat the Orioles 7–2. In 107 plate appearances, he batted.243 with 15 home runs and 39 RBIs.
Kluszewski worked as a hitting coach for the Cincinnati Reds and their excellent teams in the 1970s after retiring as a player. He became the Reds’ minor league hitting coach in 1979 and held the job until 1986 when he suffered a major heart attack and underwent emergency bypass surgery. After that, he went into retirement. Kluszewski died of a second heart attack in Cincinnati on March 29, 1988, at the age of 63.
How Ted Kluszewski died?
Kluszewski became an investor in Ted Kluszewski’s Steak House in Cincinnati’s Walnut Hills neighborhood in 1958, a 21-year business partnership. The famous eatery, which had five outlets on both sides of the Ohio River, was said to serve over 1,000 pounds of beef a week.
Kluszewski returned to the Cincinnati Reds as batting coach in 1970, after retiring as a player. He stayed with the team for nine seasons. The so-called Big Red Machine became one of the most potent offenses of the expansion era under his guidance, winning consecutive World Series titles in 1975 and 1976. Kluszewski took on a less demanding job as the Reds minor league hitting coach in 1979, mostly due to health concerns. He held the job until 1986, when a major heart attack necessitated emergency bypass surgery, forcing him to retire from baseball. Two years later, on March 29, the 63-year-old Kluszewski died of a second heart attack in a western Cincinnati hospital.
Ted’s married Life
In 1946, Ted Kluszewski married Eleanor Kluszewski.
The famous baseball player is assumed to have collected around $500,000 – $1 Million dollars in his career. However, due to his death, there has not been much research on his wealth.
Records and Achievements
NL All-Star (1953, 1954, 1955, 1956)
NL leader in home runs (1954)
NL leader in RBIs (1954)
NL leader in hits (1955)
NL leader in putouts as a first baseman (1951, 1955)
NL leader in fielding average as a first baseman (1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955)
AL pennant team (1959)
A first home run in Los Angeles Angels history (1961)
MLB: three home runs by three team members in a single game and season (1956):
1950: Tommy Brown, Roy Campanella, and Duke Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers
1956: Gus Bell, Ted Kluszewski, and Bob Thurman of the Cincinnati Reds. Ed Bailey also hit 3 on 6/24/56 making the Reds the only team with four teammates to do so.
1987: Joe Carter, Brook Jacoby, and Cory Snyder of the Cleveland Indians
NL: five-time leader in fielding average as a first baseman (1951–1955)
NL: 17 consecutive games scoring runs (1955)
In the year 1962, The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum inducts Ted Kluszewski.
Ted Kluszewski became a member of the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 1974.
1976: Sportswriter Harry Stein published an essay in Esquire magazine that featured an “ALL-TIME All-Star Argument Starter” made up of five ethnic baseball teams. On Stein’s Polish unit, Kluszweski was the first baseman.
1981: In Terry Cashman’s song “Talkin’ Baseball,” a musical homage to baseball, the first line of the chorus is “Ted Kluszewski.”
The Cincinnati Reds retired Ted Kluszewski’s number 18 in a pregame ceremony at Cinergy Field on July 18, 1998. Before the game between the San Diego Padres and the Cincinnati Reds, his widow, Elenor Guckel, tossed out the ceremonial first pitch.
The Cincinnati Reds’ home stadium, Great American Ball Park, opened on March 31, 2003. The Reds unveiled a bronze statue of Kluszewski on the Crosley Terrace area outside the main gate before the first game. Later on, statues of Crosley Field legends Ernie Lombardi, Joe Nuxhall, Frank Robinson, and Pete Rose were erected. Cincinnati artist Tom Tsuchiya sculpted the sculptures.