Adios, George

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Tiger Hall of Famer George Kell dies
Detroit News staff and wires
George Kell, a Hall of Fame third baseman who outdueled Ted Williams for the 1949 American League batting title and became a longtime Tigers broadcaster, died Tuesday. He was 86.
Jackson's Funeral Home in Newport, Ark., confirmed the death but did not give a cause. The Baseball Hall of Fame said he died in his sleep at his home in Swifton, Ark.
Kell edged Williams for the 1949 batting crown, hitting .34291 while the Boston Red Sox great finished at .34276. Kell played 15 seasons in the AL, hitting more than .300 nine times and compiling a career average of .306. He was a 10-time All-Star.
Kell played from 1943-57 with the Philadelphia Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles. He batted more than .300 each year from 1946-53. He played for the Tigers during his batting duel with Williams.
After he retired, Kell broadcast Tigers games from 1959 to 1996. Longtime Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell and Kell became close friends while working together in TV and on radio.
"He had a very laid-back style," Harwell told WWJ-AM (950) on Tuesday. "He was easygoing and an expert on the game. He brought the field to the booth because he played and played well. He had a conversational style that people took to."
Kell was born on Aug. 23, 1922 in Swifton. He lived in the same house in Swifton from his birth to when it burned down in 2001, then was rebuilt on the same land.
Kell became a beloved Tigers television broadcaster. His TV broadcast partner from 1976-96 was another Tigers Hall of Famer, Al Kaline.
In addition to his .306 average, Kell also had 2,054 hits, 385 doubles and 870 RBI in 1,795 games.
Kell was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.
"There's no one who loved and respected the game more than George," Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson wrote on the Hall's Web site. "Not only was he one of baseball's true legends, but he was a fan, too. He loved coming to Cooperstown and sharing in the camaraderie with his Hall of Fame family, and we will miss him."

1 comment:

  1. He was a treasured part of our youth, and what greater legacy can a man have?