This strongboy from nearby Gary, Indiana, was an instant hit in Chicago. Kittle had been released by the Dodger organization after a spinal fusion operation in 1978 and was working in iron construction when invited to Comiskey Park for a tryout. His combined output for two minor league seasons, 1981 and 1982, was 90 homers. As the White Sox left fielder in 1983, he batted .254 with 35 homers and 100 RBI, combining with Greg Luzinski to form the most potent home run duo in club history. He played in the All-Star Game and the LCS, and he won AL Rookie of the Year honors. But he also struck out a league-high 150 times.
In 1984 Kittle’s average dropped to .215, and his 32 round-trippers did not compensate for his failure to advance runners and hit in the clutch. He was hampered by a shoulder injury in 1985 and was batting .213 in 1986 when he was traded to the Yankees. He hit 12 homers in 159 at-bats in 1987, spent 40 days on the disabled list, and was released. The Indians picked him up in 1988, and he returned to the White Sox for 1989 but spent much of the season on the DL after a good start. Kittle returned in 1990 but was traded midseason to Baltimore, where his average plummeted. His career ended the next season when his struggles ended a comeback attempt with the White Sox after only 17 games.