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20 Facts about Dave “Kong” Kingman that you may not know:

  1. He was a 4-year letter winner in basketball (averaged 16 PPG) and in baseball (where he was the school’s ace pitcher) at Prospect High School in Illinois, and also lettered in football (WR)
  2. According to his 1974 Topps card and an LA Times article, Kingman hit 4 HR and threw a 2-hitter in his final HS game.
  3. Though he was drafted by the Seattle Pilots (1967), and California Angels (2nd Round, 1968), Kingman declined to sign and instead opted to go to Harper Junior college
  4.  He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles (phase 2 Draft, 1968) but again declined and instead accepted a scholarship to play at USC
  5. At USC he went 11-4 as a pitcher in 1969, and was then converted to outfielder in 1970 to take advantage of his hitting ability.  He was an All-American in ’70 as USC won the National Championship
  6. In his only full minor league season, 1971, he hit 26 HR with 99 RBI in just 105 games with Phoenix
  7. In his second game after being called up to the Giants, on July 31, 1971, he recorded his first hit, an RBI double, and in his next at-bat blasted a grand slam homer off the Pirates’ Dave Guisti in a 15-11 win.  The next day he hit two home runs off Dock Ellis in an 8-3 win
  8. He hit a game-winning HR against Dave Roberts of the Padres in the last game of the season to clinch the NL West title for the Giants
  9. As a rookie he batted 5th and started in RF over All-Star Bobby Bonds in the first two games of the NLCS.  Overall he hit just .111 (1-9) in the Series, which San Francisco lost in 4 games to the Pirates
  10. He hit for the cycle against the Astros on April 16, 1972
  11. The pitcher he faced most in his career was Steve Carlton.  In 112 plate appearances against Carlton, Dave hit .258 – his 8 HR, 25 RBI, 13 walks and 36 strikeouts were all his personal highest against any pitcher
  12. Loved hitting against: Dock Ellis (.440, 11-25, 4 HR, 7 RBI), Dave Roberts (.391, 18-46, 6 HR, 17 RBI), Ray Burris (.303, 20-66, 6 HR, 20 RBI)
  13. Hated hitting against: John Candelaria (.185 12-65, 3 HR, 20Ks), Larry Dierker (.071, 2-28, 0 HR, 16Ks), Bob Knepper (.143, 6-42, 3 HR, 19 Ks)
  14. He hit .270 over 167 lifetime plate appearances with the bases loaded, including 16 grand slam home runs
  15. Dave hit 40 HR vs the Phillies, 37 vs the Pirates, and 35 vs the Braves.  His highest batting average against any team was the .303 he hit in 75 games against the Mets (including 23 HR)
  16. In 1977, he became the only player to hit a home run for a team in four different divisions in the same year: Mets (NL East), Padres (NL West), Angels (AL West), and Yankees (AL East), and also became the only player to homer with both the New York Mets and the New York Yankees in the same season.
  17. He was the 1984 AL Comeback Player of the Year, rebounding from a miserable .198, 13 HR season in 100 games with the Mets to hit .268 with 35 HR and a career-high 118 RBI for the Oakland A’s
  18. He holds the record for most home runs by a player in his final season (35 in 1986 for Oakland)
  19. His 442 lifetime home runs rank 40th on the all-time list, ahead of notable power hitters Frank Howard, Jim Rice, Duke Snider, Dale Murphy, Mike Piazza, Al Kaline, Tony Perez, Ralph Kiner, and Billy Williams
  20. His 1,816 strikeouts rank 15th all-time

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Joe Gersbeck is a baseball historian and lifetime fan/student of the game who lives in New Jersey with his wife and two sons.  His website is http://www.1970sBaseball.com and his book, 1970s Baseball: A History and Analysis of the Decade’s Best Seasons, Teams, and Players is available on Amazon, B&N, and iBooks:

http://www.amzn.com/1499179464

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O44DEOC/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1120432099

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id936274107

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