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Ed Kirkpatrick

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Edgar Leon Kirkpatrick

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[edit] Biographical Information

Ed "Spanky" Kirkpatrick made his debut with the expansion Los Angeles Angels when they signed him as an amateur free agent in 1962 at the tender age of 17 and was the target of the Kansas City Royals' first-ever trade, when he and Dennis Paepke were acquired for Hoyt Wilhelm on December 12, 1968. He enjoyed a pretty good run with the up-and-coming Royals clubs of the late 1960s and early 1970s, hitting 18 homers with 62 RBI in 1970. In one three-game stretch from September 28 through October 1 in 1969, Spanky drove in 11 runs for the Royals, which is still a club record. Even though Kirpatrick had very mediocre career hitting totals, he somehow managed to survive 16 major league seasons.

Kirkpatrick was clearly a fighter. He put an end to the Kansas City Athletics' Bert Campaneris's September 8, 1965 evening during which Campy played all nine positions, by colliding with him in a play at the plate and then beating him so badly in the ensuing melee that Campy was sent to the hospital.

On December 4, 1973 the Royals traded Ed along with Winston Cole and Kurt Bevacqua to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Nelson Briles and Fernando Gonzalez.

In 1974, Spanky was again at the center of one of the great baseball fights of all time. The Cincinnati Reds and the Pirates got into it after the Bucs' Bruce Kison brushed back Dave Concepcion and was subsequently plunked in the ribs by Jack Billingham, the Reds pitcher, which brought both benches out onto the field. As the clubs lined up against one another, Sparky Anderson was bumped and stepped on the foot of then-Pirate Kirkpatrick, who smacked Anderson and the fight was on.

Kirkpatrick was a member of the Texas Rangers for only 20 games in 1977, having been acquired on June 15th for Jim Fregosi. Why the Milwaukee Brewers, who would go on to finish 6th in the AL East that year, wanted Kirkpatrick on August 20th is a mystery. On October 25th, the Brewers sent Gorman Thomas to the Rangers to complete the trade. The Brewers reacquired Thomas in February - he would turn out to be a great slugger for them - but released Kirkpatrick on March 21, 1978. This was Spanky's last shot in the majors and he wound up spending his last year of professional baseball with the 1978 Pacific Coast League Salt Lake City Gulls.

Kirkpatrick's six years in and out of the minor leagues allowed him to put together 1,847 at bats, 529 base hits, including 70 home runs and a .291 batting average.

In his 16 seasons in and out of the major leagues, Spanky had 3,467 trips to the plate with 824 hits, including 85 home runs for a .238 batting average. Ed got the last hit at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City on October 4, 1972.

Sadly, Spanky Kirkpatrick was maimed in a 1981 auto accident that relegated him to a wheelchair for life. Ed Kirkpatrick's post-baseball life was rich in many ways. His hometown of Glendora, California, named a civic award in his honor, as each year the member of that community who has done the most in support of youth athletics wins the "Ed Kirkpatrick Award." Ed passed away in 2010, aged 66.

[edit] Sources

The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball: Third Edition
SABR Minor League Database

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