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A Dedicated Baseball and Family Man
on May 10, 2013
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.