Glancing Back, and Remembering Eddie Kasko
Eddie Kasko was the typical 1960s shortstop – good fielding, marginal if any hitting – only he was better than most in the field.
Kasko was signed in 1948 by the St. Louis Browns. It took nine years of minor league seasoning to ready Kasko (and, especially, his bat) for the big leagues, and he hit .273 for the St. Louis Cardinals during his rookie season in 1957. Two years later he was traded with Del Ennis and Bob Mabe to the Cincinnati Reds for George Crowe, Alex Grammas and Alex Kellner.
It was in Cincinnati that Kasko enjoyed his greatest success, both with his bat and in the field, where he teamed with second baseman Don Blasingame to give Reds pitchers a formidable doubleplay pair behind them. He hit .292 for the Reds in 1960, and batted .271 during Cincinnati’s pennant year of 1961. Kasko’s best year as a hitter was 1962, when he batted .278 with 26 doubles and 41 RBIs.
By 1963, however, Kasko was forced to move over to third base to make way for Leo Cardenas, a shortstop who could match Kasko’s range and beat his bat. A great shortstop with a light stick can be tolerated. A third baseman hitting .241 cannot.
In 1963, the Reds dealt Kasko to the Houston Colt .45s for Jim Dickson, Wally Wolf and cash. After two seasons in Houston, Kasko was traded to the Boston Red Sox for infielder Felix Mantilla. He was a utility infielder for the Red Sox in 1966, and retired after hitting .213 that season.
In his 10 years in the major leagues, Kasko hit .213. He was a National League All-Star in 1961.