Baseball lost one of its greats today, Hall of Famer George Kell passed away this morning at his home in Swifton, AK. He was 86.
Mr. Kell was a huge part of my childhood and a huge influence for my love of the game. He moved to the broadcast booth after his playing days, and stayed there for 35+ years, mostly for the Detroit Tigers. In 1976 he teamed up with Al Kaline for TV broadcasts of Tiger's games, and stayed there for the next 20 years. I have many memories of the his slow, southern-drawl delivery, but my favorite would be his call of Milt Wilcox's almost perfect game in 1983. Milt carried the gem into the 9th inning, and with two outs pinch hitter Jerry Hariston punched a ball up the middle to break up the perfect game. I've still not forgiven Hariston, and probably never will. But Mr. Kell's docile tones made it easier to stomach. He did that for every game, made you feel like the world was good and we were all just sittin' on his front porch drinking lemonade and watching a ballgame.
He will be missed.