Last week I showed my new Don Kessinger autograph card. The post inspired me to go back and look at all of the Kessinger cards I've got. While doing so, I found something that you don't see very often a card.
This is the back of his first card, from Topps 1966. Now check out his vitals:
He's listed as Bats: Right
Now take a look at his card the following year
And again check the vitals
Now he's listed as Bats: Both
So what happended? Topps didn't make a mistake did they??
Actually, the back of the '67 card explains: "After a slow start at the plate in '66, Don took up switch-hitting and finished his sophomore season in the majors very strongly" Can you think of another player that became a switch hitter after becoming a major leaguer? And what about making the change during the season? I doubt that there are many cards of any modern player that has a change in batting position.
According to the 1967 Cubs media guide, Kessinger first batted as a lefty against the Astros in May. No date was given and the Cubs played the Astros five times during the month, so I couldn't narrow it down to a specific date.
Kessinger remained a switch-hitter the rest of his career. I first really started following the Cubs in 1969, so I only knew him as a switch-hitter. It wasn't until years later that I learned he started out as just a righty. But the change certainly made him a better hitter. As a righty only in 1965 he hit .201. The next year the average was up to .274.