Summary

Birth:
30 Aug 1898 1
Harrisville, Michigan 1
Death:
11 Feb 1950 1
Ann Arbor, Michigan 1
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Hazen Shirley Cuyler 1
Also known as:
Kiki Cuyler 1
Person:
Hazen Cuyler 2
Age in 1930: 32 2
Birth:
30 Aug 1898 1
Harrisville, Michigan 1
Male 1
Birth:
Estimated Birth Year: 1898 2
Death:
11 Feb 1950 1
Ann Arbor, Michigan 1
Cause: Heart Attack 1
Residence:
Place: ALCONA County, Michigan 2
From: 1930 2
Enumeration District: HARRISVILLE CITY 2
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Occupation:
Baseball 1

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Stories

Kiki Cuyler

Kiki (rhymes with eye-eye) Cuyler started his major league career at the Pittsburgh Pirates after being purchased from the Bay City organization in September 1921. He only played in one game and did not reach base in three plate appearances. The following year, he also played in only one game, but did not bat. In 1923, he played in 11 games and got to bat 45 times with 10 hits and 5 walks.

In 1924, Kiki replaced Carson Bigbee starting in the out field and took advantage of the opportunity. In 117 games, Kiki batted .357 with 165 hits and 30 bases on balls. He had 27 doubles, 16 triples, 9 home runs and 32 stolen bases. The Pirates had an excellent year with a 90 and 63 record but finished 3 games behind first place NY Giants. Cuyler's production did not go unnoticed. Manager Bill McKechnie gave Kiki more playing time in 1925. Kiki played in 153 games with 700 plate appearances. He had 220 hits, 43 doubles, 26 triples, 18 home runs, 58 walks, was hit by the pitcher 13 times and scored 144 runs. He led the league in plate appearances, triples, and runs. He was second in MVP balloting behind triple crown winner, Roger Hornsby, who batted .403. The Pirates won the National League Pennant with a 95 wins against 58 losses and 8 1/2 games in front of the NY Giants. The Pirates faced the Washington Senators in the World Series.


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In the first game of the series, the MVP pitcher Walter Johnson held the Pirates to 1 run on 5 hits and the Senators won 4 to 1. In the second game, the Senators scored first in the second inning. The Pirates tied the score in the fourth inning. The score did not change until the eight inning. With a runner on base and one out, Kiki hit a home run deep over the right field fence to make the score 3 to 1. The Senators added one run in the ninth but came up short. The pirates lost game three, 3-4 and game four, 4-0. In order to win the series, the pirates needed to sweep the last three games.

Game five in Washington, and the Pirates won by a score of 6 to 3. Kiki had 2 hits and a walk, score one run and had one RBI. The final two games took place in Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. The Senators scored one run in the first and one in the second before the Pirates answered with 2 runs in the third inning with the help of a sacrifice bunt by Kiki. Eddie Moore hit a home run in the fifth inning and the series was tied, 3-3.

Walter Johnson, who already had two wins in the series pitched for the Senators and Ray Kramer took the mound for the Pirates. The Senators started strong with 4 runs in the first inning. The Pirates battled back with 3 in the third but the Senators added 2 more in the fourth inning. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Max Carey led off with double, followed by a double by Kiki scoring Max. But the next three batters were unable to bring Kiki home and the inning ended with the Pirates trailing 6-4. In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Eddie Moore reached second base on a pop fly error. Max Carey brought him home with a double. Kiki bunted Max to third and he scored when Pie Traynor hit a triple but was thrown out at home plate.


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With the score tied, 6-6, the Senators scored one run on a home run in the top of the eight inning. In the bottom of the inning, the Pirates began with with two fly ball outs. Then two doubles tying the score once again. Eddie Moore walks and Max Carey reaches on an error. With the bases loaded, and two outs, Kiki hit a tremendous drive to the right centerfield wall, clearing the bases with an apparent inside-the-park home run. However, the umpires ruled the ball had become entangled in a tarpaulin rolled up against the wall. Cuyler was given a ground rule double but the score was now 9-7 and the demoralized Senators were blanked in the top of the ninth.

 

The following year, Kiki again had very solid numbers. He batted .321 with 197 hits, 113 runs and 92 RBIs. But he also had 66 strike outs which was second in the league. The Pirates ended up in third place and in 1927 Donie Bush took over as manager. Bush and Cuyler had did not get along and Kiki numbers dropped. He played in only 85 games and batter .309. He did not play in that year's World Series against the New York Yankees. Following the season, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Sparky Adams and Pete Scott.

 

 


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In his first season in Chicago, Kiki batted .285 in 133 games. He was second on the team with 17 home runs and led the team and league with 37 stolen bases. The Cubs ended up in third place in 1928, 4 games behind St. Louis. In 1929, after acquiring Roger Hornsby from St. Louis the Cubs won the pennant. Cuyler had his best year batting .360 with 183 hits, 29 doubles, 7 triples and 15 home runs. He also had 66 walks, 43 stolen bases (league leading), and 102 RBIs. In the World Series against the powerful Philadelphia Athletics, Kiki batted .300, and scored 4 runs but the A's won the series in 5 games.

In 1930 and 1931, Cuyler again was very good at the plate batting .355 and .330. In 1930, Kiki was an intregal part of the Hack Wilson's record 191 RBIs (still stands today) with 228 hits and 155 runs. Kiki, himself had 134 RBIs, third in the league and again led the league with 37 stolen bases. And even after the ball was changed in 1931 to reduce the offense, he had 202 hits and scored 110 runs, second on the team to Woody English. But the Cubs failed to make the World Series represented by the Cardinals both years.

The Cubs won the National League Pennant in 1932 but a broken foot reduecd Kiki's playing time slipped to 110 games. His batted average also slipped to below .300 to .291. He had a solid World Series getting 5 hits in 18 at bats including a double, a triple and a home run. But the powerful NY Yankees swept the Cubs 4-0.

Injuries reduced Kiki's playing time even more in 1933 to only 70 games. He still managed to bat .317. Healthy again in 1934, he raised this batting average to .338 with 189 hits, 42 doubles, and 69 RBIs in 142 games. But again the following year, his numbers slipped and he was released in July 1935 by the Cubs. The Cubs won the pennant, but could have used Kiki in the World Series lossing to the Detroit Tigers.


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Kiki was picked up 2 days after being dropped by the Cubs as a free agent by the Cincinnati Reds, he played in 62 games with a .251 batting average. In 1936, his batting average improved to .326, playing in 144 games with 185 hits and 74 RBIs. In 1937, he batted .271 playing in 117 games. The last place Reds released Kiki at the end of the season but 38 year old Kiki gave it one more try with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938 reuniting him once again with Woody who had been sent to Brooklyn the year before. His last year in baseball, he played in 82 games and batted .273. At age 39, he was still able to steal 6 bases.


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Kiki's life time batting average was .321 in 18 seasons. He led the league twice in runs scored, (1925, 1926), doubles leader in 1934, triples leader in 1925, stolen base leader in 1926, 1928, 1929, and 1930. Kiki played in the 1934 All-star Game and was inducted into Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968.


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After his illustrious career as a player, Cuyler managed in the minor leagues, winning the Southern Association Championship in 1939 under Joe Engel and the Chattanooga Lookouts. Cuyler was a Cubs coach from 1941 to 1943 and a member of the Boston Red Sox staff in 1949. He died in 1950 of a heart attack at the young age of 51 and was buried in Harrisville, Michigan, his birthplace.

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