Inside Pitch

March 24, 2009: George Kell passes away

March 22, 2010

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – He was baseball’s best third baseman for more than a decade, and George Kell remains one of just 11 former big league third sackers enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

A year ago this week, baseball lost a legend.

George Kell passed away on March 24, 2009. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

Kell passed away on March 24, 2009, leaving behind a legacy of outstanding play and gentlemanly conduct. His Hall of Fame career included 10 All-Star Games, the 1949 American League batting title and a .306 career average.

“He was aggressive – in a dignified way,” wrote Watty Spoelstra of the Detroit News.

Kell played for the Athletics, Tigers, Red Sox, White Sox and Orioles from 1943-57. He was elected to the first of eight straight All-Star Games in 1947, finishing fifth in the MVP voting in that year with a .320 average and 93 RBIs. In 1949, he hit .3429 – winning the batting title by .0002 over Ted Williams.

Kell finished his big league career in 1957 with Orioles at the age of 35 – earning his 10th All-Star selection that year. His ringing right-handed line drives left him with a .300-or-better average in nine of his 15 seasons.

After he retired, he broadcast Tigers games for 37 seasons – every year except 1964 from 1959 through 1996.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum


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