Sunday, April 1, 2012

Final Card: Harvey Kuenn

This is the final player card for Harvey Kuenn (#372). He played 15 seasons in the majors, and was a shortstop for the first half of his career before switching to the outfield.

Kuenn was signed by the Tigers in 1952, and spent just one season in the minors before making his major-league debut on September 6, 1952. Harvey took over as Detroit's starting shortstop that day, and remained there until the end of the 1957 season. As a rookie, Kuenn led the AL with 209 hits, batted .308, and won the Rookie of the Year award. He also made his first of 8 consecutive all-star appearances.

Harvey also led the AL in hits for the '54, '56, and '59 seasons, and in doubles for the '55, '58, and '59 seasons.

At the start of the 1958 season, Kuenn switched to center field, making 138 starts there. (His previous major-league outfield experience consisted of 1 inning.) After one more season in Detroit (as the regular right fielder), Kuenn was traded to the Indians on April 17, 1960 for outfielder Rocky Colavito.

Kuenn spent just one season in Cleveland. It would be his last season in the American League, and his last as an all-star. In December he was traded to the Giants for pitcher Johnny Antonelli and outfielder Willie Kirkland.

In 1961, Harvey shared the left field duties with Orlando Cepeda (with Cepeda also alternating at 1B with Willie McCovey). Kuenn also started a few dozen games in right field.

Kuenn spent 3 more full seasons with the Giants, mostly as the 3rd/4th outfielder (depending on whether McCovey was playing 1st base or the outfield), and also started about 50 games at 3rd base during 1963. His playing time was gradually decreasing over those 3 seasons, and by 1965 he was hardly playing at all.

At the end of May 1965, Kuenn was traded to the Cubs (with pitcher Bob Hendley and catcher Ed Bailey) for catcher Dick Bertell and outfielder Len Gabrielsen. He played 54 games for the Cubs that season, mostly as a pinch-hitter, but also as a 6th outfielder.

In April 1966, Kuenn was sold to the Phillies, and wrapped up his career that season as a pinch-hitter.

Kuenn would later manage the Milwaukee Brewers in 1982 (where he won the AL pennant) and 1983.

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