Ron Kittle, 1990 Topps
Here is a picture card of Ron Kittle looking off into the distance, thinking to himself, “I bet I could make a bench out of that.” That joke will make sense later. For now, to the back:
I didn’t know baseball cards had memories, but I am nevertheless very excited!
He led PCL with 50 homers, 144 RBI and .729 Slugging Percentage.
I am not sure of the details of PCL, for example, how many games they play per season and if they use adult human pitchers. It’s possible this information is available somewhere online, but … whatever. The point is that, regardless of league specifics, those statistics have lived up to their reputation, and that’s saying a lot considering my own memory has lived through the steroid era.
Kittle followed up that minor league campaign by winning AL Rookie of the Year in 1983. But you already knew that, maybe. What you’re probably asking yourself is, “What has Ron Kittle been up to these days? Has he ever posed for a picture on a motorcycle while dressed like a tiger?” Those are excellent questions. Many of the answers can be found on his website.
From what I can gather, Ron Kittle’s primary current interest is making benches out of baseball material, like bats and bases. According to Wikipedia, Kittle was a steelworker before he made it to the bigs. Now he makes his own benches. He seems to me like a real life Ron Swanson, which is the highest compliment I can dole out. The career path of steelworker > major leaguer with home run power > makes furniture by hand is one that I can easily relate to, as I played Little League and once almost successfully installed a doorknob.
I am unsure how comfortable the benches may feel on the ol’ back, but they are pretty cool and are definitely a conversation piece. It’s not like you’re going to sit on one of these benches and not talk about baseball, and I am always down for talking about baseball. I ain’t hatin’ on someone’s enterprise. You go, Ron Kittle.
But that’s not all. Kittle is also a motivational speaker. The motivational speaking link on his website features, to answer your previous question, a picture of him dressed as a tiger on a motorcycle. I am unsure if that’s how he arrives to each motivational speaking gig, but if so, I’ll tell you what—he’s already got my attention.
One of the motivational topics listed is, “How to look people straight in the eyes and shake their hands firmly.” I don’t know how much deeper Kittle can go on this topic …
Okay, the next topic today is, “How to look people straight in the eyes and shake their hands firmly.” Now, what I would recommend is this: Look people straight in the eyes, with your eyes, and shake their hands firmly, like this (shakes own hand). You can’t tell, because you’re in the audience, but believe me this is a firm handshake. Now I know I mean business. Okay, the next topic is …
My dad has always maintained that he can judge a man based solely on his handshake. So, if you have a flimsy handshake, that makes at least two people—former baseball player Ron Kittle and my dad—who think you’re a wuss.