Quiz – the Big Klu

Ted Kluszewski was among the most feared NL hitters of the early and mid 1950s. In his best 4-year run from 1953 to 1956, he compiled 148 OPS+ while batting .315 with 171 HR and 464 RBI, ranking, respectively, 4th, 3rd, 1st and 2nd in the NL for those categories. 

Interestingly, though, Ted is a member of two quite different groups of hitters. After the jump, you’ll see what I mean.

Congratulations to JoshG and John Autin! JoshG identified that Ted Kluszewski is one of just 8 hitters since 1946 with a season of 30 or more HR and fewer strikeouts than HR (Kluszewski had 4 such seasons; only DiMaggio had more, with 6, including 5 in a row in 1937-41). John Autin got the second part of the quiz, identifying that Kluszewski also (probably surprisingly) is one of just 12 hitters since 1946 with a season (min. 502 PA) of 10 or fewer HR and also 25 or fewer of both strikeouts and walks. Kluszewski had such a season in 1949. Glenn Beckert and Don Mueller lead the way, each with 3 such seasons.

So, here are the two lists. Each list represents all players who have achieved a particular season (min. 502 PA) accomplishment since 1946.

And, the second, very different, group of hitters.

So, the question is: What are those two season accomplishments? There’s nothing tricky here – the accomplishments are based only on simple counting stats.

35 thoughts on “Quiz – the Big Klu

  1. 1
    Richard Chester says:

    I think the first one is having a season with more strikeouts than home runs.

  2. 2
    JoshG says:

    List 1 is seasons with at least 30 home runs and more home runs than strikeouts. Kluszewski has four seasons like this, Berra and Mize each have two.

  3. 3
    Ted B. says:

    the second list is more triples than hrs

  4. 6
    John Autin says:

    I’m stumped, as usual. Second list also has a lot of low-K guys, but Ozzie & F.Alou don’t totally fit that mold.

    They don’t share a birthday or a home town or a school.

  5. 7
    nightfly says:

    The second list is a lot of banjo hitters racking up qualifying seasons with barely any power, walks, or strikeouts… just putting it in play, over and over. It might have something to do with the 40 bb, 40 k, and <100 OPS+. Just guessing though.

  6. 9
    John Autin says:

    (using Nightfly’s inspiration) Qualifying season of less than 10 HRs and less than 25 in both walks & strikeouts?

    • 10
      nightfly says:

      I think that’s it, JA. And remarkably, a few of the players also led the league in a hitting stat – Tim Foli led the league in HBP when he did it, and Don Mueller led the league in base hits that same season, which is enough of a reason to give him the nickname “Mandrake the Magician.”

      (Does Mueller get onto the Monster Nickname team that way, too?)

    • 12
      Doug says:

      Well done, JA.

  7. 13
    Richard Chester says:

    First list: More HRs than SO, 30 or more HRs and fewer than 30 doubles. .

    • 15
      Richard Chester says:

      Hey, I submitted that post before I realized that the quiz was solved. My answer wasn’t too far off, only Musial had more than 30 doubles.

  8. 14
    PP says:

    in #1 Musial was close in many other seasons: 36-38, 35-39, 33-39, 30-32, 29-34…

    696 SOs in 12717 PAs, unbelievable

    although Yogi had a 28-12 year (a non MVP year)

    • 16
      Doug says:

      Yogi also had two 27-20 seasons, a 30-24 and a 30-29. Berra had 10 straight seasons (1949-58) of 20+ HR and never more than 35 Ks.

      Yogi’s 414 Ks in 8359 PAs is actually a touch better than Musial. So too is Yogi’s 414/358 K/HR ratio, compared to 696/475 for Stan.

      • 17
        Richard Chester says:

        Biggest differential between HR and SO: Tommy Holmes in 1945, 28 HR and 9 SO.Second is Lou Gehrig in 1934, 49 HR and 31 SO.

        Doug: I misunderstood your post #4. I thought you meant half-way there to the answer just for the first list.

        There was a year when Babe Ruth was close. 46 HR and 51 SO in 1931.

        • 19
          Doug says:

          Sorry you misunderstood my comment.

          Holmes’ HR/SO ratio over 3 is incredible. Only other 2:1 ratios are:

          Berra, 28/12, 1950
          Boudreau, 18/9, 1948
          DiMaggio, 30/13, 1941
          Lombardi, 12/6, 1935
          Sewell, 11/3, 1932

          So, Sewell edges out Holmes for the best HR/K ratio. But, I’ll take Tommy’s 17 more HR for the price of 6 more strikeouts (a bargain at twice the price).

      • 18
        no statistician but says:

        DiMaggio, I think, was even better: 369/7673 and 369/361.

        Not a power hitter, but the all-time champ in SO/PA is Joe Sewell—not a big secret, but as long as we’re on the subject: 114/8333. The anti-Adam Dunn.

        • 22
          Richard Chester says:

          Going into his last season DiMaggio actually had more HRs than SO, 349 to 333.

          • 23
            no statistician but says:

            RC:

            Thought about that after I posted and went to bed. Have to stay up pretty late to beat you.

          • 26
            Richard Chester says:

            NSB: I’m on the west coast so I have a late night advantage.

          • 28
            Richard Chester says:

            From about 7-9-37 to 8-29-51 (25 games from the end of his career) DiMaggio had more HRs than SO.

      • 35
        PP says:

        I saw the Yogi numbers without checking the %s between him and Musial, they’re amazing, obviously, but I was thinking Musial had 1377 XBHs which is almost 2 per strikeout…

  9. 20
    Ed says:

    A spin-off of List 1 – 40 or more homeruns, 40 or fewer Ks. That list includes Klu, Mize, Ott, DiMaggio and Gehrig. Klu’s 1955 season was the most recent one.

    • 21
      Doug says:

      Klu looks even more impressive on your spin-off list, Ed.

      3 such seasons, and in consecutive years. The other four each had just one season.

      • 24
        no statistician but says:

        He was a .300 hitter with medium power for 5 or 6 years, then suddenly started cranking out HRs. My recollection is that they did something to the fences at Crosley Field that changed it into a long-ball paradise. Wally Post had a 40 HR season in those years too, and in 1956 the Reds had five players with 28 or more homer and tied the NL record of 221 (Giants 1947) while chasing the Dodgers and Braves to the wire.

        The next year Klu’s back problems kicked in, and he became a part-timer, noted mostly for his great performance in the 1959 World Series for the White Sox.

        • 25
          Ed says:

          That could be. Looking at his 4 big home runs seasons his home/road splits for homes runs are: 23/17, 34/15, 22/25, 23/12. So 102 homeruns at home vs. 69 on the road.

          So he was definitely helped by his ballpark. At the same time, he was averaging 17+ road home runs per year which is more than his season total for most of his prior years.

          • 29
            Richard Chester says:

            Klu’s 34 HR in 1954 at Crosley Field was a seasonal record for most HR in one park until Sammy Sosa broke it in 1998.
            Incidentally there is a website, crosley-field.com, with some fascinating info about the park.

  10. 27
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    No one has commented yet on the most interesting aspect of this card – Klu cut off the sleeves of his short-sleeved jersey, to display his enormous forearms. Would that even be allowed by the MLB rules today?

    He must have been quite a site at bat.

    • 30
      Doug says:

      “He must have been quite a site at bat”.

      Here’s another card, from 1957: http://images.checkoutmycards.com/original/6a023007-58bf-4909-b22c-840af9fbb5ec.jpg

    • 31
      Richard Chester says:

      I think it would be more correct to say that that he wanted to display his upper arms and shoulders. I was under the impression that he wanted to show off and I was ready to jokingly remark that his surge in power after the 1953 season could have been due to the cut sleeves. I did some research on him and it was stated that the sleeves were preventing his muscles from bulging properly and it affected his swing. Supposedly that’s why he cut his sleeves. It would be nice to know exactly when he cut them. The card on this blog is from 1956 but it is not known when the photo was taken. I have seen his photo on cards dated 1953 and earlier and his sleeves are not cut on those photos.

      • 32
        Lawrence Azrin says:

        Richard,

        Yes, your first sentence in #31 is more accurate; his forearms would already be visible even with conventional short sleeeves. Like you, I thought he cut his sleeves more for show than for practical reasons.

        His back troubles in the late 50s may have prevented him from becoming one of all-time great hitters. Then again, you could say that about a number of other players with chronic injuries, such as Don Mattingly or Tony Oliva.

  11. 33
    PP says:

    As an aside, I like to check out the towns these guys are from: Argo, IL is now called Summit which apparently was the setting for Hemingway’s story The Killers…

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