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As we continue our whirlwind tour of that wacky thing we call "the alphabet," it's time to construct a team entirely made up of players whose last/family name begins (or began) with the letter "K." This leads us to wonder, of course, if they'd fare well against the previously-published All-O squad -- regardless, we can rest assured that it'd be an O-K game to take in.

And no, this team will not be known as the "K Marts" (with blue light, er, light blue uniforms) -- we'll have a better name encircled by the time we get through this process; and given the multitude of options, our team uniform colours seem much more likely to be Kelly (or Kell or Kelley) green ...

... Actually, there have been no less than 11 Hall of Famers with a "K" name -- and with that short list, we can cover pretty much our entire Opening Day starting lineup, save the minor point that there'd be nobody to play the middle infield positions. But we do have a future Hall of Famer at the keystone, anyway.

The pitching staff is very interesting -- you can probably off the top of your head come up with Sandy Koufax and Jim Kaat as lefties in the rotation, and maybe you know about 300-game winner Tim Keefe, but what do you know about Ray Kremer, a righty who didn't make The Show until the age of 31, then ripped off 127 wins in his first six seasons? And we love Jimmy Key here at Batter's Box, and respect the work of 222-game winner Jerry Koosman, but neither one gets the fifth starter's role.

That final rotation slot goes to a 19th-century lefty named Matt Kilroy, who at 141-133 was little better than a .500 career hurler, but who holds the all-time single-season strikeout record with ... are you sitting down? ... 513 in 1886. With Nolan Ryan eclipsing Koufax as an inappropriately-initialed King of K's, how can we not have the all-time K leader on the all-K team?

Just how wide of a margin does Kilroy have on Ryan's 383 punchouts in a single season? Imagine if you will, someone breaking Barry Bonds' record of 73 homers -- and doing it by hitting 98 bombs. Sure, the rules were different in the 19th century, but that's impressive.

Speaking of impressive, with apologies to Keefe, you could certainly make an argument that the K starting rotation should feature no less than five lefties -- Koufax, Kaat, Key, Koosman and Kilroy. But for the sake of consistency with our other alphabet teams, we will stick with the usual RLRL5 formula.

Now, without further ado , please meet ...

** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star

MGR: Tom Kelly (1140 wins #39 all-time, leads "K" managers)

C King Kelly** (.308, 1813 hits; also played OF/IF)
1B Harmon Killebrew** (573 homers)
2B Jeff Kent* (.289, 302 homers through 2004)
SS Don Kessinger* (,252 over 16 seasons, two Gold Gloves)
3B George Kell** (.306, 2054 hits)
LF Chuck Klein** (.371/83/313, 1930-31)
CF Joe Kelley** (.317, 2220 hits, 1891-1908)
RF Al Kaline** (.297, 399 homers, 10 Gold Gloves)
DH Ralph Kiner ** (seven straight NL homer titles, 1946-52)

C Jason Kendall (.306 through 2004)
IF Chuck Knoblauch* (four-time All-Star, 1991 AL Rookie of the Year)
IF Eddie Kasko* (SS/3B/2B hit .264 over 10 seasons)
OF Willie Keeler** (.341, 2932 hits)
PH/DH/OF Dave Kingman* (442 homers)
1B/2B/OF George Kelly** (.297, 1778 hits, 1915-32)

RHSP Tim Keefe** (342-225)
LHSP Sandy Koufax** (165-87)
RHSP Ray Kremer (127-67, 1924-30; 143-85 career)
LHSP Jim Kaat* (283-237)
LHSP Matt Kilroy (141-133 career; 513 K in 1886)

CL-R Billy Koch (all-time "K" save leader with 163 through 2004)
RHRP Jim Konstanty* (66-48, 74 saves; 1950 NL MVP)
LHRP Darold Knowles* (66-74, 143 saves)
RHRP Jim Kern* (53-57. 88 saves)
LONG-R Ellis Kinder (23-6 in '49; 102 career saves)

Among those not making the roster are as follows; think of them as the group that went ...


  • RHSP Silver King (203-154 in just 10 late 19th century seasons)
  • RHSP Bruce Kison (115-88)
  • RHSP Johnny Klippstein (101-118. 66 saves)
  • RHSP Vern Kennedy* (just 104-132 but 21-game winner in 1936)
  • RHSP Brickyard Kennedy (187-159)
  • RHSP Darryl Kile (133-119)
  • RHSP Frank Kitson (128-117 in just 10 late 19th century seasons)
  • RHSP Mike Krukow* 9124-117; won 20 in 1986)
  • LHSP Bob Knepper* (146-155)
  • LHSP Frank Killen (164-131 in just 10 late 19th century seasons)
  • LHSP Jimmy Key* (186-117)
  • LHSP Jerry Koosman* (222-209)
  • LHSP Alex Kellner* (just 101-112 career, but 1949 20-game winner)
  • LHSP Ed Killian (two 23+ win seasons; 102-78 career 1903-10)
  • RHRP Ron Kline (only "K" with 100+ wins/100+ saves; 114-144 career W/L)
  • RHRP Byung-Hyun Kim* (31-28, 86 saves through 2004)
  • C Ron Karkovice (.221 over 12 seasons)
  • C Johnny Kling (.271 over 13 seasons)
  • C Terry Kennedy* (.264 over 14 seasons)
  • C Reindeer Bill Killefer (.238 over 13 seasons)
  • 1B Eric Karros (.268, 284 homers through 2004)
  • 1B Ted Kluszewski* (279 homers, 365 strikeouts)
  • 1B Ed Konetchy (.281, 255 SB over 15 seasons)
  • 1B Paul Konerko* (.278, 170 homers through 2004)
  • 1B Joe Kuhel (.277, 131 homers over 18 seasons)
  • 1B/OF Ed Kranepool* (.261, 118 homers)
  • 1B/OF John Kruk* (.300 over 10 seasons)
  • 2B/1B/3B Don Kolloway (.271 over 12 seasons)
  • 2B Mark Koenig (.279 over 12 seasons)
  • 2B Duane Kuiper (.271 over 12 seasons)
  • SS Tony Kubek* (.266 over nine seasons; retired at 28)
  • 3B Willie Kamm (.281 over 13 seasons)
  • 3B Corey Koskie (Never been an All-Star)
  • 3B Ray Knight* (.271 over 13 seasons)
  • 3B Ken Keltner* (seven-time All-Star; .276, 163 homers)
  • 3B/1B/2B Jeff King (.256, 154 homers)
  • OF/3B Bob Kennedy (.254 over 15 seasons)
  • OF Charlie Keller* (,286, 189 homers)
  • OF Pat Kelly* (.264, 250 SB over 15 seasons)
  • OF Roberto Kelly* (.290, 124 homers, 235 SB over 14 seasons)
  • OF Steve Kemp* (.278, 130 homers)
  • OF Harvey Kuenn* (.303, 2092 hits over 15 seasons)
  • OF/DH Ron Kittle* (.239, 176 homers)
  • OF/1B Ryan Klesko* (.253, 284 homers through 2004)
  • OF Whitey Kurowski* (five-time All-Star in nine-year career)
Well, that's it Bauxites ... is this team "Oh, K" as it is, or should we "Circle" back on something?
K is for Koufax, Kaline and Killebrew | 6 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Craig B - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 12:39 AM EDT (#120111) #
Charlie Keller, one of the hundred or so best hitters in baseball's history and quite a decent leftfielder, would surely make this team ahead of Kingman, whose only talent is hitting home runs. Put it this way - the only thing Kingman knew how to do on a ballfield was hit for power, and he still didn't hit for as much power as Keller.
Craig B - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 12:51 AM EDT (#120113) #
By the way, how the hell does Don Kessinger make the All-Star team in '68 ahead of Dal Maxvill? Maxvill didn't hit much, but he was a brilliant shortstop, and Kessinger couldn't hit at all, and wasn't.

Kessinger, incidentally, is a guy whose defensive reputation is not upheld by serious analysis. He was all right for a few years, but hardly to a Gold Glove standard - and the view of him as a valuable defender colored his performances later, some of which were terrible. I guess Gene Alley didn't play enough in '69 and '70 and Maxvill hit *so* badly that he lost the Gold Glove with his bat - which should be just about impossible to do. But I have no explanation why Hal Lanier, who could run rings around Kessinger in the field, didn't get it. Bat again, I suppose.
Mick Doherty - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#120125) #
I thought about Kingman, who's really on the team as a carnival attraction, but was more leaning toward replacing him with Kluszewski than Keller. In a real clubhouse, of course, you'd probably rather have almost anyone than Kingman, especially a powerful and positive presence like Klu.

Kessinger is clearly the weak link on the team and I think you can make an argument, a pretty good one, that Kubek should be the starting shortstop over the old Cub. (Again, that's probably me trying to avoid the appearance of Yankee favouritism.)

The middle infield is really weak -- Eddie Kasko? -- but what are you going to do, go with Mick Kelleher? I would welcome additional suggestions on people I missed!
Craig B - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#120138) #
You know, if you were actually managing this team and really desperate, I bet you could move Willie Kamm over to shortstop and get a pretty damned good one. Kamm was, as nearly as possible, the Brooks Robinson of his time, just with lots more walks and less power. He would have been a perennial Gold Glover at third if they'd had them in his day, and I know he could have handled shortstop.
Mike Green - Tuesday, June 21 2005 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#120144) #
Definitely, Charlie Keller has got to be on this team. His career numbers don't look like much because he missed a year and a half of his prime due to the war, and he was done at age 30 due to back problems, but this was one terrific hitter. He hit .290 with 100 walks and 30 homers consistently in his 20s in an era where those numbers meant greatness.
Mike Green - Thursday, November 10 2005 @ 12:52 PM EST (#131720) #
I hate to be a homer, but Key should get the nod over Kilroy. Setting the major league record for strikeouts in 1886 with 513 is kind of like Jack Chesbro's win record. Interesting, but not really a function of outstanding pitching. Kilroy narrowly led the league in K/IP that season, and he only pitched any significant amount for 4 seasons.
K is for Koufax, Kaline and Killebrew | 6 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.