Ken Keltner

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Kenneth Frederick Keltner

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Biographical Information[edit]

Ken Keltner was a top third baseman during his time in the majors, often being named to the All-Star team in the 1940s while playing for the Cleveland Indians. His most impressive year with the bat was probably 1948, late in his career, when he hit 31 home runs with 119 RBI. His team went on to win the 1948 World Series that year.

Keltner helped in the ending of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak in 1941. Playing third base for the Indians, Keltner made two backhanded plays that would have been hits had he not caught them.

He was a truck driver when discovered playing softball in 1936 by the minor league Milwaukee Brewers. After two strong years in the minors, he became quite prominent in the majors as a third baseman, being named as an All-Star seven times in a thirteen-year career.

Keltner entered the Navy in March 1945 and was released in March 1946. As a result, he missed the entire 1945 season.

His three-run home run off Denny Galehouse was the turning point in the Indians' 8-3 win against the Boston Red Sox in a one-game playoff to determine the American League pennant winner in 1948.

After his major league career, Keltner played for Sacramento in 1951.

One of the most similar players (by the similarity scores method) is a partial contemporary, Harlond Clift. Clift played in the majors from 1934 to 1945 while Keltner played between 1937 and 1950.

In the 1980s, former major leaguer Paul Schramka and a number of people around Cleveland and Milwaukee launched a campaign to have Ken Keltner elected to the Hall of Fame. Bill James received some of their promotional materials, and as a result decided to examine Keltner's case in detail. He came to the conclusion that Keltner, while a good player, was not quite of the level to deserve enshrinement in the Hall. During this study, he developed a set of questions to be asked about any player being considered for the Hall of Fame, in order to set out what are the major arguments for and against enshrinement. This list of questions is now known as the Keltner List and is regularly used in articles written by analysts when new candidates for the Hall make their appearance on the annual ballot.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 7-time AL All-Star (1940-1944, 1946 & 1948)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1938, 1941 & 1948)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1948)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1938 & 1948)
  • Won a World Series with the Cleveland Indians in 1948

Further Reading[edit]

  • Bill James: "The Keltner List", in Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame, Fireside Books, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 1995, pp. 274-285.

Related Sites[edit]