Ken Keltner was born on Tuesday, October 31, 1916, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Keltner was 20 years old when he broke into the big leagues on October 2, 1937, with the Cleveland Indians. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Ken Keltner baseball stats page.
"Not only did the slick-fielding Cleveland Indian third baseman (Ken Keltner) stop Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game hitting streak , but this seven-time All Star also hit the pennant-winning home run in the first-ever single- game American League playoff." - Baseball Historian Jim Nitz (SABR Baseball Biography Project, Ken Keltner , Source )
Ken Keltner Autograph on a 1989 Pacific Trading (#143)
Ken Keltner Pitching Stats
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Ken Keltner Hitting Stats
Ken Keltner Fielding Stats
|1950 Red Sox||1B||1||0||6||1||1.0||1||1||0||0||0||n/a||n/a||n/a||1.000||4.50|
|1950 Red Sox||3B||8||7||192||19||2.4||18||8||10||1||0||n/a||n/a||n/a||.947||2.53|
Ken Keltner Miscellaneous Stats
|Baserunning Statistics||Other Positions||Common Hitting Ratios||Common Pitching Ratios|
|1950 Red Sox||0||0||.000||4||1||n/a||0.0||4.7||14.0||-||-||-|
Ken Keltner Miscellaneous Items of Interest
|Team [Click for Roster]||Uniform Numbers||Salary||All-Star||World Series|
|1937 Cleveland Indians||25||Undetermined||-||-|
|1938 Cleveland Indians||25||Undetermined||-||-|
|1939 Cleveland Indians||25||Undetermined||-||-|
|1940 Cleveland Indians||25||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1941 Cleveland Indians||25 , 8||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1942 Cleveland Indians||8||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1943 Cleveland Indians||8||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1944 Cleveland Indians||8||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1946 Cleveland Indians||9||Undetermined||Stats||-|
|1947 Cleveland Indians||6||Undetermined||-||-|
|1948 Cleveland Indians||6||Undetermined||Stats||Stats|
|1949 Cleveland Indians||6||Undetermined||-||-|
|1950 Boston Red Sox||4||Undetermined||-||-|
|Ken Keltner Stats by Baseball Almanac|
Kenneth Frederick Keltner was a Major League Baseball player who played the hot corner for the Cleveland Indians (1937-1944, 1946-1949) and Boston Red Sox (1950), missing 1945, because he joined the US Navy. Ken, his nickname, was one of the best fielding third baseman for nearly ten years and went to seven All-Star Games due largely to his glove.
Joe DiMaggio's , in Lucky to Be a Yankee , said Keltner was the best third baseman he ever played against, explaining, "Those aren't just ordinary base hits Ken cuts off with those backhanded stops, they're sizzlers down the foul line which would be good for certainly two and maybe three bases if they got by. He had no superior at protecting the foul line. "
Ken Keltner | 1947 Van Patrick Postcard | Baseball Almanac Collection
A teammate, Paul Schramka , agreed with Joltin' Joe's assessment and attempted to rally support for Keltner's election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Noted historian Bill James (who we believe should be in the Hall of Fame under a new classification) examined the stats and wrote:
"Keltner, a brilliant defensive third baseman with a tremendous arm, was famous for an odd habit of looking carefully at the baseball in his hand before he threw it to first. They used to say he counted the stitches before he threw to first. He drove two Hall of Famers off the Indians ' third base job - Lou Boudreau and Bob Lemon . Both came to the Indians as third baseman, but switched to shortstop and the mound when they were unable to dislodge Keltner from his job." - Bill James in The New Bill James Historical Abstract (Bill James Publishing, 05/08,2010, #35 Best Third Baseman in Baseball History , Page 362)
James did not believe Keltner was a Hall of Fame third baseman, but he did create a legendary list of questions he believed should be asked to determine if any player is hall of fame worthy! That list appears below:
The Ken Keltner List
1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?
2. Was he the best player on his team?
3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?
4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?
5. Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after passing his prime?
6. Is he the very best player in baseball history who is not in the Hall of Fame?
7. Are most players who have comparable career statistics in the Hall of Fame?
8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?
9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?
10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but not in?
11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?
12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other players who played in this many go to the Hall of Fame?
13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?
14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?
15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?
What if? Ken Keltner, during his ten full American League seasons, played the most games at third base four times (9 times in the top 10), led the league in assists four times (9 times in the top 10), led the league in double plays five times (9 times in the top 10), and had the best fielding average in the league three times (10 times in the top 10)!
Last-Modified: April 11, 2020 5:35 AM EST