Random Rookie Recap: 1983 Fleer Ron Kittle

1983fleerronkittlerandomrookierecapEvery once in a while a card comes along and makes me think. Sometimes the card is new and shiny and showing me how far baseball cards have come. Other times the card is old and dingy, reminding me of what used to be, both in the hobby and sport. The latter was the case Thursday when I uncovered this Ron Kittle rookie card in a box purchased at a thrift store. Truth be told, I’ve got a new Thrift Treasures post in the works regarding two boxes of cards (about 1,500 total) I got for a mere $9. But perhaps one of the most intriguing cards in the boxes was this 1983 Fleer Kittle rookie.

Now this card is not worth a lot of money. In fact, if you really wanted one it  would cost you less than a pack of Wrigley’s Chewing Gum … and I’m talking about the five-stick packs retailing for 35 cents. But for what it’s worth, this card paid for my purchase because it opened my eyes.

Ron Kittle is a name and face I remember from my baseball cards as a kid. I did not have the fortune of watching the man play. Sure, I followed baseball in the 80s and early 90s, but living in the San Francisco Bay Area there was not a ton of opportunity to see Chicago White Sox baseball, ya dig? It was all about the A’s and Giants.

So when I spotted this card, I immediately turned it over to check three things I always look for — the man’s hometown, his age and his stats, the latter telling me if this was his rookie card.

Sure enough this was a Kittle rookie. But this practice of checking the stats box lead me to a new discovery — Ron Kittle was a freakin’ power hitter! Look at his minor league numbers from 1981 and 1982:  90 homers and nearly 250 RBIs in just a shade over 850 at-bats.

1983fleerronkittlebackstats

This fact led me to the ‘Net this morning to check on Kittle’s career. And again, a new discovery: Ron Kittle was the 1983 American League Rookie of the Year. His award-winning season saw him hit 35 homers and chart 100 RBIs.

For the first three years of Kittle’s career, the power numbers were pretty good. His 35 in ’83 were followed subsequently by 32 and 26, which were good numbers for the early ’80s. Kittle went on to play a total of 10 Major League seasons for four teams;  his career included three stints with the White Sox. He ended his career with 176 homers (93 of which came in his first three years) and a .239 batting average.

As a side note, Kittle has his own blog and Web site. On his site, Kittle has something for sale that would make any White Sox fan drool — a decorative bench made of baseball bats and bases, an item signed by members of the 2005 World Champion White Sox — including  future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas. Check it out HERE. There are only TWO available. That’s a pretty cool showpiece for a Man Room.

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2 Responses to “Random Rookie Recap: 1983 Fleer Ron Kittle”

  1. [...] 1983 Fleer Ron Kittle rookie: Cardboard Icons Rule No. 3 applies here, but I also did a little write-up on Kittle the other day. You can see it here. [...]

  2. Kittle was the most exciting player on the division winning 1983 White Sox. Tony La Russa recently said this was the funnest team he ever managed. They also had Carlton Fisk, Cy Young winner LaMar Hoyt, Harold Baines, and Ozzie Guillen. I’ll never forget watching Kittle and Fisk hit home runs onto the roof of old Comiskey Park. The whole City of Chicago was really excited about this team.

    I looked at this card today. It has an error on the back saying he went to high school in New York instead of his hometown Gary, IN.

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