Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thanks for the memories George...

One of baseball's all-time greats has left us. George Kell passed away yesterday at the age of 86 in Swifton, Arkansas.

Kell was a Hall of Fame third baseman who played from 1943-1957 for many teams, including the Detroit Tigers.

I never got the opportunity to see him play, but I will always remember him as the broadcaster of the Detroit Tigers. When I first started watching baseball, George Kell and Al Kaline were doing play by play for the Tigers.

When I first heard about George's passing, a number of his catch phrases went through my head. Phrases like "They're gonna wave him in!", and "Long drive, waaaaaaayy back, Gone!, " and starting every game with "Hello everybody, I'm George Kell". Just saying these simple catch phrases doesn't do justice to the way that he said them with his Arkansas accent.

In my eyes, George Kell was an iconic figure. They don't make broadcasters like him anymore. You would never hear him yell "Holy Cow!" whenever the Tigers did something great. If the Tigers hit a home run, he wouldn't say "And you can put it on the boooaaaarrrdddd, Yes!". If someone was on a hitting streak, George Kell would never say that person is "En Fuego".

He kept things simple. Baseball is a simple game to play, and he called it in a simple way.

George Kell was a Tigers broadcaster for 37 years, and he was teamed with Al Kaline for 15 of them. I will always remember watching and listening to those two talk about Tigers baseball. If I saw a picture of them together, I couldn't help but think of Tigers baseball. Nowadays, you would be hard pressed to find a broadcasting duo that has lasted that long. Broadcasters jump around from team to team, and sometimes from sport to sport.

Thank you for the memories Mr. Kell. Thank you for coming into our living rooms each week and treating us to Tigers baseball. Most importantly, thank you for being you.

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