Adam Dunn, who recently hinted at possible retirement after the 2014 season, is this generation’s Dave Kingman with a nice personality.
For those who think of the current Chicago White Sox designated hitter as a one-of-a-kind player in Major League history let us introduce you to Kingman. They are a peculiar type, for sure, but surprisingly similar in their on-field accomplishments.
Dunn stands 6-foot-6 and has a listed weight of 285 pounds. Kingman’s playing days measurements were 6-6 and a surprisingly svelte 210.
Dunn is approaching the end of his 14th big-league season at age 34. Kingman played 16 seasons between 1971 and 1986 and retired at 37.
With several weeks remaining in this season, Dunn has 459 career homers. Kingman finished with 442. Both men could hit the ball into outer space, but both had similar failings in that they didn’t hit it often enough.
Dunn, who has played in both the American League and the National League, has led his league in strikeouts four times, most dramatically when he fanned 222 times in 2012. Kingman led his league in strikeouts three times.
Off a cliff
As of Thursday’s play, Dunn had a lifetime batting average of .237. Kingman retired with an average of .236. To plummet as low as he has Dunn has recently recorded some ghastly season-long averages, including batting .159 in 2011 in 122 games, one of the worst seasons for a hitter that active in baseball history. In 2012 Dunn hit .204. In 2013 he hit .219. If only, if only, he could hit his weight things would be great.
It might be argued that Dunn once had a better eye at the plate since in 2002 he walked 128 times while playing for the Cincinnati Reds. In two other seasons he led his league in walks.
To date, Dunn has twice been named to All-Star teams. During his career, Kingman made two All-Star teams. As of Thursday, Dunn had a career total of 1,153 runs batted in. Kingman retired with 1,210 RBIs.
For some unknown reason, Kingman, who seemed to truly despise reporters, worked overtime to make himself one of the most disliked guys of his time. Famously, he once had a dead rat in a cardboard box delivered to one of the beat writers when he played for the Oakland A’s.
Dunn is a much more personable fellow and he seems to get along with sportswriters as well as other guys in the clubhouse.
Time to call it a day?
There have been times during Dunn’s career that it seemed possible he would become a better all-around hitter, but after the ugly averages he has posted in recent seasons it seems certain that ship has sailed. It’s a safe bet that he would like to stick around the majors long enough to bash 500 homers, but his pace has dropped off and unless things changed in a big way even if Dunn plays another season there is little indication he would reach 500.
The old Dunn could crank out 40 homers a year. This season Dunn has clouted 19 homers and has amassed just 49 RBIs. For a one-dimensional player with those as his specialties – and whose contract is expiring -- that isn’t good enough. No wonder Dunn is debating retirement.