Dave Kingman

Signed Dave Kingman photo from my collection

I got my first autograph of the New Year in the mail last week. Former New York Mets slugger Dave Kingman signed the photo I sent to him with a $5 donation.

Kingman hit a total of 154 home runs during his two stints with the Mets, and he represented New York on the National League All-Star Team the year that I was born. He finished his 16-year major league career with 442 home runs, twice leading his league. (He also led his league in strikeouts three times.)

Kingman’s last year in the major leagues was 1986, and he spent his final three seasons on the West Coast with Oakland. So the only memories I really have of him are of finding his baseball cards and seeing him in those Mets Yearbook shows SNY sometimes airs.

What do you remember about Dave Kingman?

You can “Like” Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebookand follow me on Twitter and Flickr.

About these ads

About Paul Hadsall

I'm the former editor of a weekly community newspaper and current contributor to Hot Stove Baseball. I've been a New York Mets fan for most of my life and I've been blogging about them, minor league baseball, baseball cards and autograph collecting since 2007. Contact me at paul@randombaseballstuff.com

10 responses

  1. Oh, I remember Sky King very well. I once saw him hit a one-handed home run into the upper deck bleachers in left field at Shea Stadium. His mammoth home runs, his terrible fielding, and his awkward, ugly strikeouts were the stuff of legend.

    Like this

  2. I always thought that Kingman looked very much like a baseball player; if you were casting a baseball movie, you’d say “Yeah, yeah, he’s just the look we’re going for!”

    That’s a nice autograph… Kong looks a bit odd to me in that 80′s uniform, because I tend to think of him from his 1970′s stint with the Mets.

    Like this

  3. topher says:

    Heh… I like the Ball Girl in the background just kinda holding onto her glove as opposed to actually wearing it. lol

    Like this

  4. Will in Central NJ says:

    Dave Kingman was my very first autograph ever, obtained at the Bamberger’s department store in downtown Newark, NJ, just blocks away from the current Riverfront Stadium, home of the Newark Bears. (The store no longer exists; the Bamberger’s chain was later absorbed by Macy’s).

    Kingman was on the disabled list, having sprained his left thumb ligaments diving in LF for a Phil Niekro double at Shea, that summer of 1976. The injury killed his slim chance at Roger Maris’ 61-HR season record, with whom he was on an approximate pace. Anyway, he was at Bamberger’s to promote a newfangled thing called a home video game, “Pong”, which you hooked up to your TV and played a very crude game of tennis onscreen. :-)

    My brother and I rode the crosstown #14 bus and, after waiting on a short line, briefly played Pong with Dave Kingman. He played with his cast-free right hand, and he signed a ball for my 15-y.o. brother and my Mets scrapbook for me (age 13). I was bitten by the autograph bug, and still collect autographs 37 years later. And yes, I still have the scrapbook. Thanks for stirring the memories, Paul.

    Like this

    • I remember the game in which Kingman hurt his thumb. He was “playing” left field, and dove (read: collapsed) forward to make a catch. It was like watching a huge tree fall in a forest. He had 30 home runs at the time, but finished the season with just 36, I think. And yes, he was on pace to catch Roger Maris at the time of his injury.

      Like this

    • Paul says:

      Great story, Will. I have a hard time imagining the days when a baseball player could be brought into a department store just to promote a product launch. :-)

      I have gotten to play “Pong,” albeit not the original home video game that you hooked up to your tv.

      Like this

      • Will in Central NJ says:

        Thanks, William and Paul. I just want to add that:

        –We were also each handed 5×7 B&W glossy photos with Kingman’s facsimilie autograph. We still have ‘em to this day.
        —Kingman’s autograph on the 5x7s and in my scrapbook appear identical to what appears on Paul’s color glossy above. So it looks legit there, Paul.
        —Kingman got a bad rap from beat reporters for his attitude and some actions that were pretty, well, crude. But I have to say that day, Kingman was pleasant and courteous to two Met fan kids who took the crosstown bus to meet and greet him.

        Like this

  5. Rememberances:
    A. BIG home runs
    B. Bigger whiffs
    C. Tommy Lasorda’s rant after a reporter asked, “What did you think of Kingman’s performance” after The Kong had hit 3 homers to beat the Dodgers (I have it on a Baseball’s Hits CD, but can’t access it on YouTube…what a shame, it’s hilarious)

    Like this