Kessinger accepted a $25,000 bonus to sign out of the University of Mississippi.
With Ernie Banks, Glenn Beckert, and Ron Santo, he gave Chicago an all-star infield.
Though he led the NL in errors in his first season as a regular (1965), Kessinger
quickly established himself as an outstanding fielder, leading league shortstops
in putouts three years, assists four years, double plays four years, and fielding
average once. He played 54 straight errorless games in 1969, then the record for
shortstops, and started for the NL in five All-Star games. He was a pesky, reliable
hitter, with a top average of .274 in 1966 and 1972. On July 17, 1970 he went 6-for-6
in a 10-inning game. The clean-living Kessinger served as player-manager for the
White Sox in 1979.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»June 15, 1969:
Cubs SS Don Kessinger sets a National League record with his 54th straight errorless game to start a season, but Chicago loses 7–6 to start a doubleheader split at Cincinnati.
»June 17, 1971: Don Kessinger goes 6-for-6 as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 7–6 in 10 innings. He's the first Cub with six hits since Frank Demaree on July 5, 1937. The Cards tie a major-league record by using five pitchers in the 8th after the Cubs tie at 5–5.