George Kell Passes Away

George Kell’s Hall of Fame plaque (elected, 1983)

George Clyde Kell
Philadelphia A.L. 1943-1946, Detroit A.L. 1946-52, Boston A.L. 1952-54,
Chicago A.L. 1954-56, Baltimore A.L. 1956-57
Premier A.L. third baseman of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Solid hitter and sure-handed fielder with strong, accurate arm. Batter over .300 nine times, leading league with .343 in 1949. Led A.L. third basemen in fielding pct. 7 times, assists 4 times and putout and double plays twice.

Sad news for the Tigers family today with the passing of Hall of Famer George Kell. Kell of course was the Tigers third baseman for a spell in the 40’s and later became an institution as a broadcaster. In addition to his broadcasting work, he was largely responsible for bringing Ernie Harwell to Detroit after the two had met in Baltimore.

I grew up watching Kell and Al Kaline on the WDIV broadcasts and his southern drawl is etched into my memory. I remember the way he’d say “They’re gonna wave him home!” with a runner coming around third. Or the way he’d say even mundane phrases like “and the Tigers’ll be in Arrrrrrlington on Tuuuuuesday night.” At a press event at The Henry Ford museum I had to chance to speak with Mr. Kell for a few moments, and just hearing his voice made me feel a little bit warm. Rest in Peace Mr. Kell.

UPDATE: Just got this info from Fox Sports. They will be airing some Kell related programming tomorrow night. Also some quotes from Mario Impemba and John Keating.

On Wednesday (7:30 & 10:00 pm) and Sunday (12:30 & 4:00 pm), FOX Sports Detroit will re-air its 2005 half-hour special titled “FSN Basement: All-Star Edition,” featuring interviews with George Kell and Al Kaline, each recalling their numerous All-Star Game appearances, memories of playing for the Tigers and their years working together in the television booth.

Mario Impemba, Tigers play-by-play announcer, FOX Sports Detroit –

“Growing up in Detroit, Mr. Kell had a big impact on my desire to become a broadcaster. He had a unique voice that featured a smooth southern charm. People knew they were watching Tigers baseball when they heard George’s voice every summer.”

John Keating, TIGERS LIVE host, FOX Sports Detroit —

“One of the highlights of my broadcasting career was our trip to interview George at his home in Swifton, Arkansas…. just to talk baseball and his place in Detroit’s sporting history. He was gracious and warm to those of us who were still involved with the Tigers. He still watched every Tigers game and enjoyed it with no regrets about stepping away from the broadcast booth. To those of us who grew up with George and Al and Ernie and Paul Carey, they shaped the standard for broadcasting sports in our town. It is less of a ‘bright and sunshiny day’ in Michigan.