Up next in my "Nicknames of the '70's" thread is one complicated player from the era, slugger Dave Kingman, aka "Kong".
Check out my card first:
I specifically picked this image of Kingman because it catches the essence of Kingman himself.
The man was "left of center" to say the least, and I always thought he was cool for that! And in this photo he looks a bit miffed, or just plain annoyed, so I thought "perfect!"
I chose the 1977 card design because of what that season meant to his career.
As we all know, Kingman would play for no less than FOUR teams that season (one in each division actually): the Mets, Padres, Angels and Yankees.
Coming off of two seasons of serious home run production for the Mets in 1975 (36) and 1976 (37), he was about to top those numbers when he finally found himself in a Chicago Cubs uniform in 1978, slugging in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field after signing with them as a free agent.
Many Mets fans still hurt from the infamous "Midnight Massacre" house-cleaning in 1977 which saw the organization trade Kingman to the Padres, Tom Seaver to the Reds, and Mike Phillips to the Cardinals, all on June 15th.
In 1979 Kingman would have his finest season as a big leaguer when he lead the Majors in home runs with 48 round-trippers, a career high, along with 115 runs batted in and a very respectable .288.
He'd find himself back in Queens as a New York Met by 1981, after falling out of favor in Chi-Town, and would lead the National League again in home runs in 1982 when he hit 37, along with a dismal .204 average.
By the 1983 season there was change in the air around Shea, and the Mets acquired Keith Hernandez from the Cardinals on their way to revamping the team towards an eventual 1986 World Series championship.
After playing out the season on the bench in '83 Kingman signed with the Oakland A's, and quite honestly, was nothing short of a "monster" at the plate over his three years there.
All he did was hit 35 homers in 1984, 30 in 1985, and 35 in 1986. Pretty impressive totals!
Yet once again, Kingman's odd personality got the best of him, and after some incidents with the local media, found himself signing with the San Francisco Giants in 1987, but never suited up for the parent club, only seeing some action in their Minor League system before calling it a career.
His 35 home runs in his final Major League season are still a high-water mark in baseball history.
All told, Kingman played 16-years in the Majors, and slammed 442 homers with 1210 runs batted in, and a .236 lifetime average.
But for many of us here in New York growing up in the 70's and 80's, whether you were a Yankee fan, Met fan or whatever, Kingman just seemed like a seriously weird dude who could hit the ball a country-mile!