Don Kessinger

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Donald Eulon Kessinger

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Biographical Information[edit]

Don Kessinger ably manned shortstop for the Chicago Cubs for more than a decade from 1965 to 1975. With good range and a strong arm, Kessinger's trademark play was to backhand a ground ball deep in the hole, leap into the air, and without planting his feet throw the runner out from short left field. During an interview with Harry Caray on the Fourth of July, 1969, Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins coined this play "The Down Pat".

Kessinger was a playing manager in 1979 for the Chicago White Sox, the last player-manager in American League history. He did not do well in either role, batting just .200 and winning 46 games against 64 losses. He managed for most of the year, and was replaced by Tony LaRussa in his first managerial role. Kessinger also played with the St. Louis Cardinals during his career.

Kessinger was an excellent basketball player and was named to the SEC "Decade of the 60's" first-team basketball squad (along with Pete Maravich, Louie Dampier, Dan Issel, and Neal Walk).

Kessinger was the head coach at the University of Mississippi from 1991 to 1996. He is the father of Keith Kessinger and Kevin Kessinger. His grandson (and Kevin's son), Grae Kessinger, was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 2nd round of the 2019 Amateur Draft.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 6-time NL All-Star (1968-1972 & 1974)
  • 2-time NL Gold Glove Winner (1969 & 1970)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1969 & 1970)

Preceded by
Larry Doby
Chicago White Sox Manager
Succeeded by
Tony LaRussa

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1979 Chicago White Sox American League 46-60 -- Chicago White Sox replaced by Tony LaRussa on August 3

Further Reading[edit]

  • Don Kessinger (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, September 1975, pp. 63-65. [1]

Related Sites[edit]