Big Klu: The Baseball Life of Ted Kluszewski
by William A. Cook
McFarland Books, 2012
One of the best first baseman of the 1950s, Ted Kluszewski is often forgotten when discussing the greats throughout history. He didn’t have the longevity to warrant strong Hall of Fame consideration, but for a brief stretch he was one of the most intimidating hitters in baseball. In Big Klu: The Baseball Life of Ted Kluszewski, author William A. Cook takes the reader not only through Kluszewski’s reign as a star in Cincinnati, but also the time he spent at Indiana University on the gridiron before signing with the Reds, as well as his years in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Anaheim. Cook also talks about Ted’s post-baseball career in the restaurant business, and the time he spent as a coach for the Big Red Machine under Sparky Anderson, working with superstars Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, and George Foster.
Big Klu is a quick read, but it is packed with facts and anecdotes. Long-time fans of Cincinnati baseball will cherish the memories that are brought back while reading the book, and baseball historians will appreciate the references to other stars who were contemporary with Kluszewski, including Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Duke Snider, and Klu’s teammate Gus Bell. Cook wraps up the book with several charts showing football standings and baseball statistics, including how Kluszewski stacked up next to other home run hitters from 1953 to 1956.
This book would be a welcome addition to any Cincinnati Reds fan’s library.