Ronald Dale Kittle (born January 5, 1958) is a former left fielder and designated hitter in Major League Baseball (MLB). He was known for his home run hitting power, and was named the 1983 AL Rookie of the Year. Kittle played for the Chicago White Sox (1982–86, 1989, 1991), New York Yankees (1986–87), Cleveland Indians (1988) and Baltimore Orioles (1990). He batted and threw right-handed. Kittle was also a manager for the minor league Schaumburg Flyers.
Kittle in 1983
|Left fielder / Designated hitter|
|Born: January 5, 1958|
|September 2, 1982, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 13, 1991, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Runs batted in||460|
|Career highlights and awards|
A former steelworker who made his MLB debut at nearly 25 years old, Kittle was a popular player on the 1983 "Winnin Ugly" Chicago White Sox when they won 99 games and made their first playoff appearance since the 1959 World Series. That season, Kittle was selected an All-Star and won Rookie of the Year honors after hitting 35 home runs (club record for a rookie) and 100 RBI.
Kittle also hit 50 homers in the minor leagues with the Edmonton Trappers and has his jersey retired in Edmonton at Telus Field. He was voted winner of 1982's Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player Award.
Kittle maintained his home run power, but after 1983 his batting average declined and his strikeouts increased. Kittle left the White Sox after 1986 and played one season in Cleveland and part of 1986 and all of 1987 with the New York Yankees. He briefly returned again to the White Sox in 1990, playing first base. Later in the season he was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles. He returned to the White Sox again and finished his career in Chicago in 1991.
Kittle appeared in 843 games over the course of his 10–year MLB career. He recorded 176 home runs and 460 runs batted in.
In 1998, Kittle was hired as the first manager of the non-affiliated minor league Schaumburg Flyers of the Northern League. During the early years of the Flyers franchise, Kittle did a series of TV commercials to promote the team, using the gimmick "Ma Kittle." where he played both himself and his "Ma Kittle." The ads were successful at sparking some initial interest in the team as the Flyers hoped to steal away fans from the nearby Kane County Cougars, then a Florida Marlins Class A team. The ad mimmicked the highly successful Converse ads where Larry Johnson starred as both himself and "Gramdmama." Kittle resigned his position in 2001.
Kittle was married to the former Laura Cooke from 1984 until their divorce in 2010. They have two children, Hayley and Dylan.
Kittle's memoirs, Ron Kittle's Tales from the White Sox Dugout, was published in 2005. Co-written with Bob Logan, who also co-wrote Michael Jordan's book Come Fly with Me, the book features anecdotes from Kittle's time as a major leaguer, mostly with the White Sox.
Kittle builds custom collectible benches out of baseballs, bats, and bases. He also works in public relations for the White Sox and maintains a popular website and blog.