Today in Tribe History: October 31, 1916
Bob Toth | On 31, Oct 2019
Ken Keltner is born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The future Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox third baseman first cracked a Major League lineup for Cleveland on October 2, 1937, at the age of 20. He would be the Indians’ regular starting third baseman for the next decade, bursting onto the scene with 26 homers, 113 RBI, and a .276 average in his rookie season. In 1939, he led the league in games played with 154. His reputation grew around the league and, by 1940, he was playing on his first of five straight All-Star teams and seven total in his career. He was a key contributor to ending Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak in 1941, making several stellar plays at the hot corner to deprive “Joltin’ Joe” of base hits.
Like so many who played the game during World War II, Keltner lost his 1945 season while stationed with the Navy. He returned in March of 1946 and rejoined the club and was again named an All-Star.
Keltner had one last final great season for the Tribe in 1948, a year during which many Cleveland players could claim the same. He appeared in 153 games and batted .297, his best mark since hitting .325 in 1939. He set career-highs in homers (31), RBI (119), walks (89), and on-base percentage (.395) while making his final All-Star squad.
He played in less than half of the games in 1949 and was released by the club prior to the 1950 season. He signed with Boston and appeared in 13 games for the Red Sox, hitting .321 before his release in June of 1950.