Klesko with the San Francisco Giants
|Left fielder / First baseman|
Born: June 12, 1971|
|September 12, 1992, for the Atlanta Braves|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 29, 2007, for the San Francisco Giants|
|Runs batted in||987|
|Career highlights and awards|
Ryan Anthony Klesko (born June 12, 1971 in Westminster, California), is a former Major League Baseball first baseman and corner outfielder, who played for the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, and the San Francisco Giants. He attended Westminster High School in Westminster, California.
Klesko hit at least 21 home runs in eight of his 13 major league seasons, with a high of 34 homers in 1996. His most productive season came in 2001, when he hit .286 with 30 home runs and posted career-highs in RBI (113), runs (105), stolen bases (23) and slugging percentage (.539), and made the National League All-Star team. In 2002, he hit .300 with 29 HR and 95 RBI, and collected career-highs in hits (162) and doubles (39). Defensively he has shuttled around the outfield and first base.
In his career he has a .370 on-base percentage with a .500 slugging average, for a .870 OPS. His .525 slugging percentage as a Brave ranks 4th all-time among the team's career leaders, ahead of Eddie Mathews. His .886 OPS as a Brave ranks him 5th among Braves' all-time leaders.
Klesko became the first player to hit a home run in three consecutive World Series road games when he did so against the Cleveland Indians in Games 3, 4, and 5 of the 1995 World Series. Klesko missed nearly the entire 2006 season due to major shoulder surgery. He returned on September 21, drawing a walk as a pinch-hitter in his first plate appearance. On December 19, 2006, Klesko signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants. Klesko announced his retirement from baseball on April 18, 2008.
Off the field
- As of 2013, Klesko serves as a pre-game and post-game analyst for the Atlanta Braves on Fox Sports South and SportsSouth
- Klesko has been actively involved with the Padres Community Relations efforts. In 2001, he received the Chairman's Award, presented annually by the Padres Community Relations Department to the player who best exemplifies the community spirit of John Moores and his family. During his five Padres seasons, Klesko has given his time and money to support numerous philanthropic endeavors in the San Diego community.
- He has served as the club's spokesperson for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, hosting Make-A-Wish children for batting practice, a pregame ceremony and a ballgame each home stand. Through his Klesko's Korner program, he has regularly provided Padres tickets to children and families facing cancer for the last four years, and he has also been a leading supporter of the Padres Scholars program.
- ESPN reporter Pedro Gomez reported on November 16, 2007, Klesko and teammate Barry Bonds were hunting together in Colorado at the time Bonds was notified he was indicted by a federal grand jury in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
- To be honored June 19, 2014 with his induction into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in Troy, Michigan.
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- Klesko to retire from MLB