With a violent swing, Steve Kemp had some excellent seasons at the plate for the Detroit Tigers. A strong left-handed batter, he was made for the short porch in right field at Tiger Stadium, a place where he hit .291 with a .480 SLG in five seasons.
Kemp’s exit from Detroit was sealed after he won a second arbitration hearing with the tight-fisted front office in 1981, earning him 0,000, the highest salary in franchise history. Tigers’ General Manager Jim Campbell was famously cheap, and after the ’81 season he traded Kemp to the White Sox straight-up for Chet Lemon. That deal turned out very well for the Tigers. Prior to that, the Tigers had flirted with trading Kemp to the Mariners for left-handed pitcher Floyd Bannister, but Seattle did not want to take on a big contract for a player who could be a free agent after the ’82 season.
At times, Kemp would swing so hard that he nearly corkscrewed himself into the ground and his batting helmet with fall off.