FanPost

Pittsburgh Pirates All-Time Top 100: 61. Kiki Cuyler

Hazen Shirley Cuyler, better known as Kiki, was a 5’10” outfielder from Harrisville, MI. The righthander was born on August 30th, 1898 and made his first professional appearance in 1920 with the “B” level Bay City Wolves of the Michigan-Ontario League, hitting .258 over 69 contests. He stayed with Bay City the following season, hitting a much improved .317 with eight home runs in 116 games. He also made his Major League debut with the Pirates, playing right field and going 0-for-3 with a strikeout in a 3-1, six inning loss to the St. Louis Cardinals an September 29th, in game two of a doubleheader.

In 1922, Cuyler joined the Charleston Pals in the South Atlantic League, hitting .309 with 12 round trippers through 131 games for the “B” level organization. He again appeared in one game for the Pirates, subbing in as a pinch runner in a 5-1 loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 23rd. In 149 games with the “A” level Southern Association Nashville Volunteers the following season, he hit .340 with 39 doubles. He was recalled to the Pirates in September, appearing in 11 of the teams final 13 games, playing mostly left field and batting fifth. He hit .250 with four runs scored and two RBI. Pittsburgh was 87-67, 8.5 games behind the first place New York Giants.

Cuyler joined the Majors to stay in 1924. He played in 117 games his first full season as a Pirate, hitting an NL fourth best .354 with a seventh ranking 94 runs scored, 27 doubles, an NL fourth best 16 triples, a ninth best 85 RBI, and an NL second most 32 stolen bases. He finished eighth in the NL MVP voting. He played all three outfield positions several times, and batting mostly third in the order. He had 49 multi-hit games, along with 18 in which he collected at least three. On August 9th, in game one of a doubleheader, he went 6-for-6 with three doubles, a triple, three runs scored and two RBI as the Pirates trounced the Philadelphia Phillies, 16-4. At 90-63, the Pirates finished three games back of the Giants, in third in the NL.

1925 would be even better for Cuyler. He led the NL with 153 games played, 144 runs scored, and 26 triples hit (and also with 13 HBP). He finished second in the NL MVP vote, and also ranked highly with a .357 batting average (NL fourth), a 1.021 OPS (NL second), 220 total hits (NL third), 369 total bases (NL second), 43 doubles (NL second), 18 home runs (NL seventh), 41 stolen bases (NL second) and 102 RBI (NL ninth). This guy was the complete package. He mostly batted third through the season, splitting his time between center and right field. He had 63 multi-hit games, including 17 three-hit and 10 four-hit contests. His most prolific game of the season came on June 20th, as he went 4-for-5 with a triple, two home runs, five runs scored, and six RBI in a 21-5 victory over the Giants. The Pirates won the NL by 8.5 games with a 95-58 record, and later defeated the Washington Senators in seven games for the world championship. Cuyler went 7-for-26 with three doubles, a home run, three runs scored and six RBI.

In 1926, Cuyler led the NL with 113 runs, 35 stolen bases, and with 157 games played. He hit .321 with 31 doubles (NL 10th), 15 triples (NL fourth) and eight home runs, along with 92 RBI (NL seventh). He appeared in all three outfield positions, mostly batting third, but once in a while in second or fourth. He had 56 multi-hit games, including 21 three-hit contests. From May 26th through June 16th, he went 40-for-94, hitting .426 with 18 RBI over a 22 game hitting streak. On August 23rd, in a 10-2 win over the Dodgers in the second game of a doubleheader, he went 3-for-4 with two triples, a run scored, and four RBI. Pittsburgh was 84-69, third in the NL just 4.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the pennant.

1927 would see Cuyler miss significant time with an injury. He appeared in 85 games, and hit .309 with 60 runs scored, 31 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. Pittsburgh made it back to the World Series by racking up a 94-60 record and winning the NL pennant. They would drop four straight to the New York Yankees as Cuyler was not on the active roster. After the Fall Classic, the Pirates sent him to the Chicago Cubs for infielder Sparky Adams and outfielder Pete Scott.

Cuyler went on to play seven and a half season with the Cubs, hitting .325 with 79 home runs, 602 RBI and 161 stolen bases over 949 games. He later played with the Cincinnati Reds (two and a half seasons, 323 games, .293, 128 RBI) and for the Brooklyn Giants (one season, 82 games, .273) before retiring. He was inducted in to the Hall of Fame in 1968 by the Veterans committee.

All-Time Statline: Seven seasons, 525 games, .325/.391/.485, 680-for-2025, 415 runs, 115 doubles, 65 triples, 38 home runs, 312 RBI, 130 stolen bases, 180 walks, 224 strikeouts, 17.1 wins above replacement.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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