Big Klu

The Baseball Life of Ted Kluszewski

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About the Book

During the mid–1950s, an unlikely star stood alongside baseball standouts Mickey Mantle, Henry Aaron and Willie Mays—a slugger with a funny name and muscles so bulging that he had to cut the sleeves off his uniform to swing freely. Ted Kluszewski played little baseball in his youth, making a name for himself instead as a hard-hitting football player at Indiana University before showing potential on the diamond and being signed by the Cincinnati Reds. Between 1953 and 1956, no other player in major league baseball hit more home runs than Kluszewski. If not for a back injury, he might have gone down in major league history as one its greatest players. With detailed statistics from both his football and baseball careers, this biography chronicles the unusual odyssey that took Kluszewski to the big leagues and ultimately made him a ballgame icon in the 1950s.

About the Author(s)

William A. Cook is the author of numerous books, including 11 on baseball history, and has appeared in productions on ESPN2 and the MLB Network. A former health care administrator and township councilman in North Brunswick, New Jersey, he resides in Manalapan, New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

William A. Cook
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 196
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6999-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9084-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

1. From Argo to Bloomington      5

2. Breaking into the Big Leagues      24

3. A Rising Star      30

4. Big Klu and the Rajah      38

5. Kluszewski Becomes a Baseball Icon      53

6. Kluszewski and the Redlegs Almost Win a Pennant      70

7. Kluszewski’s Aching Back      92

8. Traded to Pittsburgh      100

9. World Series Hero in Chicago      110

10. Career Twilight in L.A.      125

11. Kluszewski and the Big Red Machine      136

12. Demoted but Forever Loyal      155

Appendices:      163

A: Indiana University/Big Ten Football Records and Data, 1944 and 1945      163

B: Ted Kluszewski Statistics      164

C: Other Statistics and Data      165

Chapter Notes      169

Bibliography      177

Index      179

Book Reviews & Awards

“William a Cook’s excellent biography of this gentle giant sheds light on Kluszewski’s life as a standout football player at Indiana University in the mid 1940s and his slow rise to, and precipitous fall from, stardom and notoriety in baseball. Thoroughly researched and extremely well written, Big Klu: The Baseball Life of Ted Kluszewski presents the slugger as a reluctant star whose sheer size was often the source of unreasonable expectations. Cook begins the narrative with an insightful chapter about Kluszewski’s unexpected career as a professional athlete. A thoroughly enjoyable read…full-length biography”—Journal of Sport History.