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Duane Kuiper Bio, Life and Career:
Duane Kuiper was birth on June 19, 1950, in the city of Racine, which is in Wisconsin. He spent his childhood on the dairy farm that his family owned and operated, and he received his high school education at Racine Jerome I. Case. Only 15 games were scheduled for our high school squad to compete in. However, I attended Centerville Junior College in Iowa, where we participated in a great deal of athletic competition. After that, I was fortunate to compete for Southern Illinois University in Carbondale on an excellent squad.
1971 was when all of our starting lineup members were selected in drafts and signed professional contracts.2 In point of fact, the Salukis were an exceptional team, but they were defeated by USC in the final of the College World Series in 1971 by a score of 7–2. After graduating high school and continuing his education in college, he was selected in the first round of the draft by the Yankees, the Seattle Pilots, the Chicago White Sox, and the Cincinnati Reds between 1968 and 1971. However, he declined every one of their proposals.
“Sadaharu and I,” we said. Oh,” Kuiper said in jest. “Honestly, I didn’t come up with anything to cover all the bases. I have pressed a slider. After I had returned to the dugout, I attempted to recall previous events. Have I covered all of the ground? I was prepared for the event. It will inevitably take place in the end. It was an exhilarating experience. You may lose perspective sometimes, which can be funny, but I would have liked to have maintained my hitless streak for as long as possible. However, a home run must be hit at some point, even by mistake.1
A few weeks previously, Kuiper had eclipsed Milwaukee’s Tim Johnson in home-run futility among active players. Kuiper had surpassed Johnson in this category. The home run was the only one he would hit throughout his extensive league career, which spanned 3,379 at-bats and twelve years. The local television broadcast was not seen in the larger Cleveland area but was transmitted to Kuiper’s birthplace in Racine, Wisconsin. There is no question that it was a momentous occasion, not just for the people in the community but also for Kuiper’s family, provided that they were there to see it.
Oh, and what about that other significant number, 893? In San Diego, Lou Brock, who plays for the St. Louis Cardinals, first equaled and then broke the record for most bases stolen in a career in the big leagues. He equaled the form that Ty Cobb had established in the first inning and broke it in the seventh. Brock arrived at Cooperstown by running there. While all was going on, Kuiper was walking around the bases.
The Cleveland Indians played host to the Chicago White Sox the night before, and the game was shown on a regional broadcast of ABC’s “Monday Night Baseball.” Every game was critical for the White Sox as they tried to catch up to Kansas City in the American League West. They were behind the Royals by three games. The Indians were playing out the string as they headed toward a record of 71–90 for the season. The game was played in Cleveland Stadium, which had a meager attendance of 6,236 people.
After retiring Paul Dade to open the bottom of the first inning, White Sox pitcher Steve Stone faced Duane Kuiper next. Stone recorded a strikeout of Kuiper. Stone’s first pitch, a 1-0 count, was hit by the second baseman for Cleveland and deposited into the right field bleachers, two rows into the stands. In his 1,382nd at-bat, Kuiper hit his first home run in the big leagues. His teammates went up to home plate to congratulate him on the achievement. The home run kicked off a three-run inning for the Tribe, which led to their eventual 9–2 victory.
In the secondary portion of the amateur selection in January 1972, Cleveland selected him first and made him the twenty-first choice. “Thee a $8,000 signing bonus, which was about half as much as the Yankees had offered earlier, but my dad and I figured I better take it because the word might get around that I didn’t want to play pro baseball,” Kuiper said. “They gave me a $8,000 signing bonus, about half as much as the Yankees had offered earlier.”3 In 1972, Kuiper reported to Reno of the California League, where he worked his way through the Indians farm system with future stars like Rick Manning, Jim Kern, and Dennis Eckersley. Reno was part of the California League. A turning point in Kuiper’s career was the 1973 season when he hit 286 for Sahit Tonio.
This was primarily due to the assistance he got from manager Tony Pacheco. Kuiper attributes his success to this season. “All Tony required of me was to become a confident batter,” I said. In addition to that, he is highly exact. “A true professional,” Kuip describes the individual. “First, he would show me something, and then he would say, ‘And this is how you’re going to do it.’ He helped me become a much better hitter.4
Kuiper was selected for the American Association All-Star Team in 1974 after posting a 310 batting average while playing for Oklahoma City. He was brought up to Cleveland in September, and on September 9, 1974, he participated in his first game since being called up. He took over for Jack Brohamer at second base and was a member of the Indians team that defeated the Tigers by a score of 7–1. Dick Bosman, the second cousin of Kuiper, came out on top and won.
Duane Kuiper Profile-
3665 Deer Trail Dr
Danville, CA 94506-6021
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