A former steelworker who made his major league debut at nearly 25 years old, Kittle was popular on the Chicago White Sox when they won 99 games in 1983 to make their first playoff appearance since the 1959 World Series. That season, Kittle was selected an All-Star and won Rookie of the Year honors after hitting 35 home runs (club record for a rookie) and 100 RBI.
He was most well known for his line-drive rooftop home runs (7, an MLB record) at Comiskey Park (1910–1990).
Kittle maintained his home run power, but after 1983 his average dropped and his strikeouts were increasing. Kittle had short stints with the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians. He returned again to the White Sox in 1990 playing first base. Later in the season he was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles, and finished his career with the White Sox in 1991.
In 1998, Kittle was hired as the first manager of the non-affiliated minor league Schaumburg Flyers of the Northern League. During the early years of the Flyers franchise, Kittle did a series of TV commercials to promote the team, using the gimmick "Ma Kittle." where he played both himself and his "Ma Kittle." The ads were successful at sparking some initial interest in the team as the Flyers hoped to steal away fans from the nearby Kane County Cougars, then a Florida Marlins Class A team. The ad mimmicked the highly successful Nike ads where Larry Johnson starred as both himself and "Gramdmama." Kittle resigned his position in 2001.
In March 2005, Kittle's book "Ron Kittle's Tales from the White Sox Dugout" was published. It was co-written with Bob Logan, who also co-wrote Michael Jordan's book "Come Fly with Me." The book features anecdotes (some of them never before told to the public) from his time as a major leaguer, mostly with the Sox. One story talked about the hilarity of Ozzie Guillén ordering dinner while Kittle, Guillen and Cubs SS Shawon Dunston were out at a local restaurant. The book also caused some controversy when Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants accused Kittle of fabricating an insulting story about him, claiming he refused to sign autographs intended to help a children's charity in Chicago. The book says Bonds also made racially inappropriate statements.
Present Day - Benches and Blog
Kittle now builds custom collectible benches out of baseballs, bats, and bases. He additionally works in public relations for the White Sox and maintains a popular website and blog at RonKittle.com
Ron Kittle married the former Laura Ann Cooke on October 19, 1984, at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church in Gary, Indiana. Both were students and friends at William A. Wirt High School in Gary, Indiana. Ron and Laura have two children, Dylan and Hayley. Ron and Laura were divorced in 2010.