For slugging Cubs outfielder Dave Kingman, his bloop single to left field to lead off the fourth inning—in the latter half of a twinbill versus the Expos at Wrigley Field on August 6th—was just like any other base hit he’d collected this season. The Expos thought so, too; when Kingman reached first, and the ball was returned to pitcher Rudy May, nobody seemed to pay Kingman any attention, including Cubs first base coach Jack Bloomfield.
“I looked around the infield, and both Dave (second baseman Cash) and Peps (shortstop Pepe Frias) had their backs to me,” Kingman said after Chicago’s 8-4 win in Game 2, which gave the Cubs a split of their doubleheader against division-rival Montreal. “Jack was busy yelling to Manny (Trillo, at the plate), and when I glanced over at the second base bag, it was just sitting there. So, I took off.”
And took off he did, to the delight of the 39,234 Chicago faithful, who watched as the 6′ 6″, 210-pound Kingman broke for second and galloped down the path like a pinstriped ostrich, arriving at the bag standing up as the Expos infielders looked around in bewilderment. It was Sky King’s first stolen base of the season, and his first since he swiped two with the Padres last year, the second of four teams he played for in 1977.
Kingman would eventually score on catcher Larry Cox’s 4th home run of the year, and the two tallies—plus a 5-run Cubs fifth—would help make a winner of Dave Roberts (7-4), who struck out eight over six innings of work. Kingman finished the afternoon with two more singles, boosting his average to a so-so .247, but more importantly, his 28 home runs are second in the NL behind LA’s Reggie Smith, who has 40.
“I may be a ‘D’ runner,” added Kingman, “but even ‘D’ runners have legs.”