Kunkel had a brief fling as a ML reliever. His most active year was 1961, when he
appeared in 58 games for the A's. He turned to umpiring and reached the ML in 1968.
It was Kunkel who discovered pitcher Rick Honeycutt
doctoring the baseball with a
tack wedged inside a Band-Aid on his right hand. "I grabbed his hand and got stuck,"
Kunkel explained. Honeycutt received a 10-day suspension. During 1984 spring training,
Kunkel's son Jeff, a member of the Rangers, brought the lineup card to the plate
the only time father and son have appeared in the same ML game as umpire and player.
Kunkel was also a college basketball referee for 20 years.