Happy Birthday Smoothie!

kuiperd-040713-mm0164Today, we celebrate the birthday of our unwitting leader, Duane Kuiper.

Duane was born June 19, 19whatever in Racine, Wisconsin. He grew up on his father’s farm near Racine and is the oldest of 3 brothers who work in Major League Baseball on the broadcast side. Glen is a broadcaster for the Oakland A’s and Jeff is a producer for the SF GIANTS.

73222-144503FrDuane played baseball in high school and was drafted by the Yankees, but chose to go to community college. While he was attending Indian Hills Community College, he was drafted by the Seattle Pilots, Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds. He chose, instead, to further his education and went to Southern Illinois University. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox, but turned them down to finish school. When he graduated he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians. He made his big league debut for the Indians on September 9, 1974. He played for the Indians through the 1981 season, when he was traded to the San Francisco GIANTS for another player. He played for the GIANTS until he retired in June 1985.

d80e2452a2f6f4bac7cfb39b5ecfffceOne of his big claims to fame as a player was the fact that on August 29, 1977 he hit a home run. It was his first in the bigs…and his last. According to baseballlibrary.com, Kuiper claimed that hitting just the one homerun was by design. The website quotes him saying: “One is better than none, but any more than that and people start expecting them.”

imagesKuiper began his broadcasting career while he was still a player, doing a post-game radio show on KNBR. He moved into the broadcast booth when he retired. He’s won a bunch of Emmy Awards. Kuiper is one-half of the broadcasting duo Kruk and Kuip, the leaders of Gamer Babes from Half Moon Bay.

During postgame wrap-up one night, Jon Miller asked  Kuiper if he ever forgot how many outs there were while he was playing. Krukow urged Kuiper to tell Miller about the “veteran move”. Kuiper’s story went like this: he was playing in Little Rock Arkansas and he started to run off the field with only 2 outs. When he realized his mistake, he took his glove–it had a broken string, but was still ok to use–and motioned to the dugout that he needed a new glove. So, they threw him a new glove and he went back to his position. Miller said, “You are quick!” and Krukow said, “that’s why they call him Smoothie.”

He is married, NO, not to Mike Krukow and has 2 kids. AND, he makes me laugh. What more could you ask for?

Happy Birthday, Duane Kuiper!

 

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