A Ridiculously Short Oral History of ...
Thirty-six years ago, on Aug. 29, 1977, the Indians hosted the White Sox. Cleveland's second baseman that night was Duane Kuiper, who had hit zero career home runs in 1,381 major league at bats.
Rick Manning(former teammate) Kuip knew how to play the game. He was a great second baseman. He was as tough as you could get for a guy 175 pounds. Back then, the game was pitching and defense.
Duane Kuiper I'd hit some homers [seven, to be exact] in the minor leagues.
Manning We weren't there to hit home runs. Frank Robinson was our manager, and he'd stand out behind the screen and make Kuip and I [who both batted lefthanded] hit it to leftfield. He wouldn't let us swing for the fences at all.
Cleveland manager Jeff Torborg, who had replaced Robinson two months earlier, moved Kuiper up to the number 2 spot in the batting order against Chicago starter Steve Stone.
Kuiper In the first inning it was a 1--0 count. I like to tell Stone that he threw me a hanging fastball. He doesn't particularly want to hear about it.
Kuiper hit a line drive off a seat in the rightfield stands.
Frank Robinson(joking, in 1984) He waited until I got fired to hit his homer. The truth is, he won't hit one for a black manager.
Kuiper I've still got the chair. It's in the attic. I've still got the ball and the bat. As I was walking up to the bat rack [for my next at bat], [teammate] Bill Melton said, "You're not gonna use that again, are you?" I said, "Of course." He said, "You might want to put that one away. You might not hit another one."
He didn't. In 1985, Kuiper retired, and he went on to become an Emmy-winning broadcaster for the Giants. His 3,754 plate appearances are the most for any major leaguer with exactly one homer—making his shot off Stone the rarest in history.
Kuiper You gotta have fun with it. Given the choice now, would I rather hit one or five? Unless the other four were walk-off grand slams, I'm pretty happy with one. I'm happy with the way it turned out.
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
The coach of Kazakh side Shakhter Karagandy sacrificed a sheep before the team's 2--0 Champions League win over Celtic.
MICKEY PFLEGER FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (KUIPER)
ERIC ISSELEE/FOTOLIA.COM (SHEEP)