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Russell Jay "Rusty" Kuntz (born February 4, 1955, in Orange, California; last name Template:PronEng) is a former Major League Baseball designated hitter and outfielder. He is an alumnus of California State University, Stanislaus.

Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 11th round of the 1977 MLB amateur draft, he then spent two seasons in the minor leagues. Kuntz made his Major League Baseball debut with the White Sox on September 1, 1979. After being used sparingly by the Sox for four seasons, Kuntz was traded to the Minnesota Twins, then to the Detroit Tigers after the 1983 season. In 1984, while still with Detroit, Kuntz had the best numbers of his career: a .286 average and a .393 on-base percentage, although he appeared in only 84 games, mostly as a pinch-hitter and fourth outfielder.

In the fifth and deciding game of the 1984 World Series against the San Diego Padres, Kuntz pinch-hit for designated hitter Johnny Grubb with the bases loaded and the score tied at three. Kuntz hit a pop-up to short right field that Tony Gwynn was unable to see ("I lost the ball in the sky", he later admitted). Second baseman Alan Wiggins made the catch, but was unable to prevent Kirk Gibson from racing home from third with the go-ahead run. The Tigers never trailed after that, giving Kuntz an unlikely game-winning RBI. Kuntz returned to the Tigers in 1985 but appeared in just five games (last on April 24, 1985) before being sent back to the minors. After batting just .222 for AAA Nashville, Kuntz retired as a player.

Kuntz has worked in various baseball positions since his retirement, and is, as of September 2010, a special assistant to Dayton Moore, general manager of the Kansas City Royals.[1]


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