I was born Ronald Dale Kittle on January 5, 1958 in Gary, Indiana. I am a former Major League Baseball player who played both as a left fielder and as a designated hitter. I was mostly known for my homerun power. From 1982 through 1991, I played for the Chicago White Sox (1982-86, 1989, 1991), New York Yankees (1986-87), Cleveland Indians (1988) and Baltimore Orioles (1990).
I attended William A. Wirt high school. I was a 3-sport athlete in high school. I never thought I played one better than the next but one of my first life challenges came about during this time. I was told that I would never play baseball with glasses…I had to prove them wrong.
In 1976 I signed with the L.A. Dodgers at a tryout camp in La Porte, IN at Ken Schrieber Field.
I arrived at Vero Beach, Florida for my fist spring training and then went on to the Midwest League where in my first official game and first at bat, I hit a double and then scored on a single. After sliding across home plate, a late throw came in and the catcher landed on my neck as I was getting up. I crushed 3 vertebrae and broke my neck…this was the beginning of an injury plagued career.
Some baseball tidbits you may not find on a stats page:
Toughest Pitcher I ever faced
All of them!
A double down the left field line off of Frank Tanana in 1982
First Home Run
Hit to the opposite field in 1982 against Frank Viola at the Metrodome in Minnesota
Longest Home Run
Close to 700 feet over the left center roof. It was a Game of the Week in 1984 vs. the Tigers off of Dave Rosema on a 3-2 curve ball.
First in the park home run
Hit off of the late John Cerutti in 1987 against Toronto while I was with the Yankees. We won 2-1.
Number of Rooftop Homeruns while playing for the White Sox
First 4 strikeout game
It happened against Dave Rigetti. When asked by reporters if it had ever happened before, I responded with “there are people back home washing cars who did that to me.” Years later when I was traded to the Yankees, Ron Guidry placed that article about my comments above Dave Rigetti's locker. Now we were teammates. Lesson learned, watch what you say.
Find the rest of the story in my book!