Hall Of Famer George Kell Dies

Anybody from my generation and up, who listened or watched Detroit Tiger’s baseball, in this city, will have three names forever associated with it – Ernie Harwell, Paul Carey and George Kell.

Today, George Kell passed away in his sleep, at his home in Swifton, Arkansas. Kell was the third baseman for the Detroit Tigers from 1947 – 1952. He was one of the best who played the position.

He also played for the Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles.

I remember him, mostly, as a Tiger’s broadcaster.

Harwell was the radio voice, and Kell was the TV voice. I’ll never forget that rich, baritone voice, when after the pre-game show, Eli Zaret would toss it to Kell…

“Thanks, Eli, and hello again everyone. Along with Al Kaline, this is George Kell, with Detroit Tigers baseball!”

In that Arkansas drawl of his, tigers was pronounce distinctively as ‘t-ahh-gers.’

His calls of plays were equally distinctive.

“he rifled that one down to third base…”

Strangely, just two weeks ago, I pulled out the complete game broadcast of the 1962 World Series Game 7. Kell, with Joe Garagiola, handled the play by play. I sat back enjoying this classic.

I’ll listen again tonight, and remember fondly.

When Kell retired from the broadcast booth, it was said that he kept tabs on his Tiger’s ballclub. That didn’t surprise me. He loved the Tigers.

George Kell threw out the first pitch in game four of the 2006 ALCS. I was seated behind home plate, and as Kell walked slowly from the Tiger’s dugout to the mound, I had tears in my eyes. It was a baseball moment for me. One that I will not forget.

George Kell is a legend in this town, and he won’t be forgotten.

Rest in peace.

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