40 years ago today, in the bottom of the first inning of an Indians-White Sox game, Duane Kuiper stepped into the batter’s box against future Cy Young winner Steve Stone and launched his first career major league home run. It was also, of course, his last career major league home run, and as Jayson Stark pointed out in a great excerpt from a book of his that came out three years ago, he’s the only player in baseball history with 3,000 at bats and only one home run. Stark also tells the story of the only close call that Kuip remembers, also against Steve Stone, and why he’s glad it didn’t go out. It’s Duane Kuiper Day. Go read it.
And hey, since we’re here, let’s take a look at that home run. While we’re at it, let’s give props to Carmen Kiew for syncing up the video of Duane Kuiper homering with the audio of Duane Kuiper calling a home run.
But as fun as that was, that was just a generic home run call. If only there were a Giants broadcaster who specifically went out of his way to call Duane Kuiper’s home run at some point, who had taken all the years they had been friends and poured them into one beautiful call.
This is awesome. -RD21Posted by San Francisco Giants Memes on Friday, July 18, 2014
The best part is the wild, unabashed enthusiasm.
Kuip is, of course, the best, and if you don’t think so, you’re weird. Stop being weird. Here are two stories from Joe Posnanski about Duane Kuiper being the best, neither of which is actually about his homer, but they’re both great and I’ve read them before and when I read them again, looking for Duane Kuiper Day content, they were just as great as the first time I saw them. One is about Rod Carew coming in a little too hard at Kuip at second base one time, and the other is about what Kuip did when he heard that he was Posnanski’s favorite player as a kid. It’s Duane Kuiper Day. Go read them.
Kuip is on Instagram now, and while he has plenty of great and fun photos there, there’s only one that can truly commemorate this occasion.
One old homerun hitter indeed. Happy Duane Kuiper Day. Hit a single homer for your loved ones.