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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Hazen 34;Kiki34; Cuyler: A Baseball Biography
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Price:$25.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

The first thing you notice about this book is the price which you may feel is steep for a paperback. I can assure you this book is worth it. Author Ronald Waldo has written a wonderful biography about his favorite player, Hazen "Kiki" Cuyler. Cuyler's middle name of "Shirley" came from his mother's maiden name. Despite being his favorite player the author writes a straight forward account of this member of baseball's Hall of Fame.

Cuyler grew up in Michigan and made a successful effort in achieving his dream of a career in major league baseball. Author Waldo relates Cuyler's experiences with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1921-1927. Cuyler was released by the Pirates following the 1927 World Series in which Cuyler spent the Series against the Yankees on the bench due to a personality conflict with Owner Barney Dreyfuss and Manager Donie Bush. The author provides both sides of this clash and lets the reader make his own conclusions.

Ballplayers often spent a lot of time abusing their body through the use of tobacco and alcohol, but Cuyler promised his father he would refrain from the use of both products. Cuyler spent his off-season hunting and fishing to keep himself in shape.

Following the 1927 season Cuyler signed with the Chicago Cubs and joined a Murderers' Row of Hack Wilson, Leo "Gabby" Hartnett, and Riggs Stephenson among other stars which appeared in the World Series of 1929 and 1932. During his years with the Cubs Cuyler enjoyed playing for his favorite manager, Joe McCarthy. Cuyler spent the remainder of his baseball career with the Cincinnati Reds and a brief stint with the Brooklyn Dodgers in addition to spending time in the minor leagues managing the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Atlanta Crackers. Cuyler was briefly reunited as a coach for his favorite manager, Joe McCarthy, in 1949.

Author Waldo mentions that Cuyler received his nickname from teammates who hollered "Ki Ki" whenever their was a fly ball to be caught. I have read previously that because Cuyler stuttered whenever he gave his last name he stuttered the pronunciation and it came out "Ki Ki" Cuyler. Since the author doesn't mention this I feel conflicted as to how he got his nickname.

This is a worthy biography of a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cuyler was a dedicated baseball and family man who passed away at the young age of 51 from a heart attack in 1950.
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on May 4, 2015
Kiki Cuyler was a great outfielder who mostly played with the Chicago Cubs during the Roaring Twenties. On the old 'Leave it to Beaver' television show, Ward Cleaver mentions to June that he once saw Kiki go 4 for 4. I remembered the name when I came across the book. The book is an entertaining read. The 1929 Chicago Cubs featured great stars like Hack Wilson, Riggs Stevenson and Kiki Cuyler but they were swept by Connie Mack and his Philadelphia Athletics.
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on May 3, 2013
Kiki Cuyler played in one of the golden eras of baseball, and readers will find this book a competent and well-documented record of his life and career. As a star with both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs, Cuyler had a long and productive career and is rightly enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Cuyler played a key role in several pennant races, especially in 1932 when he led the Cubs to the National League pennant. Unfortunately, the Cubs were swept 4-0 in the 1932 World Series, but it was one of the most dramatic and entertaining pennant races of the early 20th century. The book is written in a very direct and informative manner and should be accessible and of interest to baseball fans, especially those who like reading about baseball in the 1920s and 1930s.
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on May 19, 2014
I would recommend this to fans of baseball history. Cutler was a fascinating player you hear little about these days.
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on March 19, 2014
Love reading about the old timers in baseball. My hubby is 91 & loves to read about them.Would recommend reading this book.
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on June 6, 2016
Waldo has done an excellent job researching and reporting on the life and career of baseball Hall of Famer Kiki Cuyler. This has everything a biography should have - detailed notes on references, a bibliography and an index. Kudos to Waldo for doing all the work. It shows and it paid off with a very solid bio of Cuyler.

While the prose doesn't rival Pat Jordan or Roger Angell, Waldo's writing style is solid enough to keep the book moving at a strong pace. In addition to on-field action, Waldo does a nice job describing Cuyler's life away from the game. Waldo goes into some detail describing the fallout between Donie Bush (Pittsburgh manager) and Cuyler that led to Cuyler's benching during the 1927 World Series and eventual trade to the Chicago Cubs.

Very well done. Recommended to any fans of baseball history.
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on November 10, 2012
This biography of the great Hall of Famer who played primarily for the Pittsburg Pirates and Chicago Cubs is important to me and a compelling read because he lived in my hometown his entire life. I went to school with his grandchildren and my first cousin is married to one of his grand daughters. The family home is still occupied by the family. Last evening I had dinner at Ki Cuyler's Dugout in Harrisville. It is no longer owned by the family but is a significant aspect of my memories in high school and a few years thereafter. Ki Ki Cuyler's grandson Butch, a great ball player in his own right, was a best friend in high school and actually coached my Pony League team. All of this of course is so you know I am probably prejudiced but it does not detract from the fact that this is a seriously researched biography. Author Ronald T Waldo is also the author of two other baseball books.

Hazen Shirley (his mom's maiden name) Cuyler was born (1898) and raised in and around Harrisville Michigan. He was valedictorian of his graduating class and was considered a very good athlete in any sport he tried. Of course he grew up hunting and fishing and this played a big part in his life as he spent the off season hunting deer, moose, geese and ducks, and was an avid ice fisherman. Due to his lack of proximity to the big cities he was not noticed until he started playing in Company Team leagues and the minors as they were in those days. When he made his way to the majors he became a 26 year old rookie. Imagine, if he could put up the kind of numbers he did with such an abbreviated career, if he had played in the majors from age 20 as so many do now. As an example Al Kaline signed right out of high school and joined the Tigers when he was 18. He played 22 years.

Because of various injuries and personality conflicts with some managers Cuyler played only nine full seasons. He was in the majors in some other seasons but sat the bench almost half the year. Although he was the hero of the 1925 World Series he was benched for the entire 1927 series after an argument with the bosses. The Pirates were promptly swept in four games and Ki Ki was sent to the Chicago Cubs in the off season. At Chicago in 1929 and 30 he had a combined 411 hits, 266 runs, 79 doubles, 24 triples, 28 home runs, 236 RBI and batted 355 & 366 respectively. His 1930 slugging percentage was 547. He led the majors in steals in four different years, games played 3 times, and at various times led the National league in doubles and triples. His total bases (1925) still stands as a franchise record in Pittsburgh. If it sounds like this book is mainly about baseball that may be true but it is also about the franchise system as it existed in the 20's and 30's. Some bigger than life individuals were friends and acquaintances including Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Hack Wilson, and the Waner's to name just a few. After his playing years he managed and coached in the major and minor leagues including a stint with Boston at the time Ted Williams was making his presence known.

Cuyler was a physical fitness nut and played and coached basketball in the off season traveling around the Midwest playing charity and exhibition games. While most big time ball players went somewhere warm for the off season Cuyler came home and like his father before him was a big part of the civic scene in and around Harrisville. He was founder or Co founder of The Lion's Club, The Goodfellows and other organizations whose heart lay at the center of giving back. Naturally these types of organizations were important and flourished during the depression and thereafter. We have family photo's which include Ki Ki Cuyler as my father was a member of these same organizations.

Hazen Cuyler did not drink, smoke or swear. He was a faithful family man, a great speaker, a natural coach and considered one of the smartest men to ever play the game. Sadly his life was cut short by what can only be said to be a lack of higher tech medical facilities. He died in the back of an ambulance on a run from upper Michigan to Ann Arbor at the age of 51. A must for baseball aficionados. 2.5* GIBO
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on February 4, 2013
I would like to thank the gentleman who wrote the review. It is nice to find out something about my uncle.
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