Bill Kuehne

Third Base
  • Card series: Beginnings: 1880's
  • City: Pittsburgh
  • Team: Alleghenys
  • League: National League

William J. Kuehne (1858-1921) came out of the German-American semi-pro clubs of Chicago to begin his career in truly professional baseball with the Columbus Buckeyes of the American Association in 1883. After a month of dreadful play at 2nd base, his manager replaced him. Having a hole at 3rd, he gave Willie one more try. Kuehne found a home at the hot corner. What followed was a ten-year career in MLB in which the otherwise light-hitting but solidly-built (and not known for speed) Kuehne played as though every day was “triple or nothing.” His lifetime .232 average belied a penchant for three-baggers. His record for “most triples in a season without hitting a home run” (19 in 1885) lasted until another Willie–Keeler–tied it in 1897. SABR’s David Nemec has documented several other odd “firsts” set by Kuehne: “lowest slugging average with at least 100 triples,” four straight seasons with more triples than doubles, and most triples (115) in history by a player with fewer than 4500 plate appearances. One in every nine hits went for three.

  • Kuehne also made a name in the field: on May 24, 1889 he set the record, never exceeded, for most errorless chances at third in a nine-inning game–13. And he set a Pittsburgh club mark as the first to play every position save pitcher/catcher
  • Kuehne’s pants color on this card was changed in January, 2017 from black to blue to reflect recent reliable research by Craig Brown & friends at Threads of Our Game. Two cards had been previously released featuring black pants.

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