This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com
A ‘country-gentleman” familiar voice of the Detroit Tigers, and a career .306 hitter to boot, George Kell was the epitome of a baseball man. Between his career as a player and as a broadcaster, he spent the better part of 65 years around the game.
George Kell had an impressive major league career than spanned fifteen seasons with the Philadelphia Athletics, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and Baltimore Orioles. In addition to being named an All-Star ten times, Kell batted over .300 nine times, including beating out fellow Hall of Famer Ted Williams for the AL batting title in 1949 while striking out just 13 times that season.
In a July 2006 Baseball Digest article, Bill Dow wrote about fan favorite George Kell. Click here to check out the article!
Kell’s 13 strikeouts in 1949 were par for the course during his playing days. In over 7,500 plate appearances, he struck out just 287 times. By contrast, he walked 621 times during his career. He twice led the league in hits and had 385 career doubles to go along with 50 triples.
After retirement, George Kell began a forty year broadcasting career for the Detroit Tigers that spanned 1957-1996. In 1983, the Veteran’s Committee inducted Kell into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The beloved announcer passed away in his sleep on March 24th, 2009.
Also Born Today:
Hall of Famer George Davis(1870-1940) was a sensational ballplayer at the turn of the century, leading the league in outfield assists before shifting to the infield and leading the league again at the shortstop position. He was the first player in history to hit a triple and a home run in the same game.
Julio Franco(b. 1958) appeared in 23 MLB seasons between 1982 and 2007, despite spending the 1995 season in Japan and playing in Japan, Mexico and South Korea between 1998 – 2000. He played one game as a member of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999.
Mark Bellhorn(b. 1974) played ten seasons in the big leagues, but may be best remembered as a member of the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. Bellhorn homered in Game 6 and Game 7 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees, and became the first second baseman to homer in three straight postseason games when he slugged a two run homer against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series.