The unassuming, broad-faced Tiger bonus baby reached the majors in his first pro season after just 63 games in the low minors. En route to the 1953 Rookie of the Year Award, Kuenn hit .308 with a league-leading 209 hits, setting a ML rookie record with 679 at-bats and an AL rookie record with 167 singles. Smooth and consistent, Kuenn was Detroit’s shortstop from 1953 to 1957 and then switched to the outfield. A line-drive hitter, he led the AL in hits four times and won the league batting title in 1959 with a .353 mark. Traded to Cleveland the next year for home run champion Rocky Colavito, he was booed by Indian fans who blamed him for Colavito’s departure. Nevertheless, Kuenn hit .308. He spent the remainder of his playing career in the NL and retired after the 1966 season with 2,092 hits.
Made a Brewer coach in 1972, the native of Milwaukee overcame heart and stomach surgery and the amputation of his right leg below the knee. In June 1982 he took over as manager of the fifth-place Brewers. He took the team, known as “Harvey’s Wallbangers” for their heavy hitting, to the 1982 World Series, where they lost in seven games to St. Louis. Kuenn was named Manager of the Year.