Today’s quote is from 1950’s Reds slugger and fan favorite, Ted Kluszewski, whose arms were so thick he had to cut the sleeves from his uniform so that he could wear his shirt.
“How hard is hitting? You ever walk into a pitch-black room full of furniture that you’ve never been in before and try to walk through it without bumping into anything? Well, it’s harder than that. “–Ted Kluszewski
I found this quote in several places, but the only reference point I’ve had is 1978, from The Baseball Almanac, when he was hitting coach for the Reds.
“Big Klu” didn’t seem to have much trouble hitting while playing for the Reds. His 1954 season stands as one of the greatest Reds seasons of all time. That season he batted .326 with 49 home runs and 141 rbi, following up with a .314/47/113 line in 1955 and leading the NL in hits with 192. Kluszewski was a tremendous contact hitter, striking out only 35 and 40 times, respectively, those two seasons. His 1954 OPS was 1.049 as he also drew 78 walks and collected 28 doubles. He never won an MVP, though he finished second in 1954 (Willie Mays was the winner, batting .345 with 41 homers, 110 rbi and a 1.067 OPS playing centerfield for a first place team that swept the World Series). Kluszewski finished in the top seven in MVP voting three different times.