Thursday, January 17, 2019

#40 Joe Cunningham

Joe Cunningham  St. Louis Cardinals

Career: Spent several years climbing thru the stacked Cardinals' system with an Army sting thrown in. His .284 average as a part-time starter in 1954 wasn't enough to earn his spot going forward and he returned to the majors in 1957 with a solid year. Had four more seasons with the Cards before being dealt to the White Sox in 1962. After one good year, his playing time decreased and he moved on to the Senators, retiring after a handful of 1966 at-bats. In 7 years with the Cards, he had a .304 average and made the All-Star team in 1959. That season he finished 2nd to Hank Aaron for the batting crown and led the NL in OBP.

In 1960: His average slipped from .345 in 1959 to a still respectable .280 to go along with 6 homers and 39 RBI.

Off The Charts: Wikipedia reports that "Cunningham's big league career started with a bang. He homered once off Art Fowler of the Cincinnati Redlegs in his big league debut on June 30, 1954, and then hit two off Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves the next day, July 1st, to set the record for most home runs in a player's first two major league games"

The Card: That's Wrigley in the photo and the building over Cunningham's shoulder now has a set of bleachers on top of it. That may well be #6, Stan The Man, bending over in the background. Don Blasingame wore #8 in 1958 so that's another possibility.

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