Sunday, August 7, 2011

WSC Vintage: Walt Kuhn

Card #41 - Walt Kuhn

Walt signed with the White Sox in February 1912. He would play parts of three seasons with the Pale Hose, ending in 1914. Kuhn made his MLB debut on April 18, 1912 in a game against the St. Louis Browns. Regular catcher Billy Sullivan had great faith in Walt's abilities and supported him in his rookie campaign.

By 1913, Kuhn was given the starting catcher position, showing great promise, but by August, he had lost the starting job to future Hall of Fame catcher, Ray Schalk. After that, a series of injuries limited Walt's playing time. His MLB career caught stealing percentage is 45.54% and compares with Ivan Rodriguez.

In 1915, he was sold to the minor league Oakland Oaks and resumed his minor league career. While, finding some success in the minors, Kuhn was drafted into the army in 1918. While Sgt. Kuhn was in combat training in San Antonio, Texas, his roommate snapped him with a towel, as a joke, causing a permanent blindness in his right eye. Walt was honorably discharged after the incident.

After his MLB career was over, Kuhn joined the Dallas Police Department and took over as player/manager of the Modesto Reds. Walt died in 1935, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, presumably brought on by his failing health.

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