Oakland A’s history: Remembering Dave Kingman

1986: Dave Kingman #26 of the Oakland Athletics swings at the pitch during a 1986 season game. Dave Kingman played for the Athletics from 1984-1986. (Photo by: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
1986: Dave Kingman #26 of the Oakland Athletics swings at the pitch during a 1986 season game. Dave Kingman played for the Athletics from 1984-1986. (Photo by: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /
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Dave Kingman finished his career with three seasons with the Oakland A’s. Even at that time, he was a fearsome slugger.

Never mind the Three True Outcome hitters – Dave Kingman often seemed to be a Two True Outcome player. He would launch the ball with prodigious power, or he would strike out while swinging as hard as he could. Those swings led to 442 career homers, and his leading the league twice. But those swings also led to 1816 strikeouts, a category he led the league in three times.

Kingman’s power made him a player that was in high demand. He played for seven different teams, including four franchises in 1977. But at a time when power hitters like Kingman were rare, teams were willing to make deals to bring his bat on board.

By the time he signed the Oakland A’s in 1984, he was nearing the end. Kingman was a still a solid power bat, but his defensive abilities had faded. The Mets had cut him loose in January, with Oakland picking him up just before the start of the regular season.

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That deal proved to work out reasonably well for the A’s. He appeared in the field just nine times, all of which were at first base. Oakland’s primary designated hitter, he produced a solid .268/.321/.505 batting line, hitting 23 doubles and 35 homers. Kingman earned some MVP votes that season as well, finishing 13th on the ballot.

The A’s would sign Kingman to a one year deal for each of the following two seasons as well. While he never replicated that strong 1984 season, he was still a fearsome power bat in the lineup. In his final year in Oakland, Kingman belted 35 homers, showing that there was still some life left in his bat. Unfortunately, those homers were about all he could provide.

Over his three seasons in Oakland, Kingman produced a solid .239/.296/.450 batting line, belting 105 homers and 58 doubles. Although he was never a burner, Kingman was still able to swipe eight bases with the A’s. Not bad for a player picked up from the scrap heap.

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The Oakland A’s may not be the team that comes to mind with Dave Kingman, but he still made his presence felt. His 105 homers in three seasons was excellent for a free agent off the scrap heap.

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