The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 22, 1988 -Poge 13
BY MIKE GILL
It is a typical August Sunday in
Detroit. The Tigers are in the
pennant race, and have just taken the
first four games of a five-game series
from their nearest competitor, the
Boston Red Sox.
Life could not be better. Grab a
beer. Grab a seat. Turn on the TV.
Good afternoon everyone and
welcome to Tiger Stadium. I'm
George Kell along with Al Kaline
and we're about ready to go with the
fifth and final game of this very
This voice has come to be
expected - the southern drawl, the
banter with partner Al Kaline, the
minor slips of the tongue. It's been
said that George Kell is a legend in
Detroit. He is.
IT'S A beautiful Sunday after-
noon in Detroit. You've heard the old
saying "not a cloud in the sky" and I
don't see one.
After a playing career (1943-1957,
including seven in Detroit) as a third
baseman, Kell hung up the cleats
because he did not want to travel
Working a year on CBS-TV in
1958, the Tigers asked him to
become their TV and radio an-
nouncer. He spurned the offer due to
the amount of travel.
Tiger owner Jim Fetzer tried to
persuade him otherwise and, "before I
left his office, he convinced me I
belonged in Detroit," recalled Kell. "I
had to go back and tell my family
that I was back travelling again. So I
SO HE did, and the rest is
Detroit history. After taking a year
off in 1964 to spend time with his
family, Kell assumed a custom-made
role as TV announcer, working a
reduced load of 45 games per season.
One ball, two strikes... and he
struck him out. Gooood split
fingered pitch by Robinson and he
strikes Benzinger out.
Kell the TV announcer is all
baseball. "Professional" is the term
he uses to describe his work. George
Kell the person is family. It's what
almost kept him away from the sport
Kell practices the down home
American values that would bring a
tear to President Reagan's eye. He
preaches occasionally at his church
and teaches a Sunday school class in
WHEN inducted into the Hall of
Fame, an honor he calls "the greatest
thrill in my life," Kell centered his
speech around the values learned in
Swifton, Ark., a small, southern city
where he's lived all his life.
"I built my speech around two
themes," he said. "One, that George
Kell has taken far more out of
baseball than he'll ever be able to put
"And two, I built it around
sharing. My wife, my children, and
my father, who was very instru-
mental in my career, have given up
so much for me.
Kell spent 10 years (1970-80) on don't wan
the Arkansas State Highway Com- drive back
mission and considered running for Cheste
governor, but decided against the and a p
move because he would have to give Nothing-
up broadcasting, golf, and the close inning...1
ties to his family. what do
The Tigers have only had one base banner in
runner against this big lefthander... up -..
And a bouncer to short....(the ball Banner
goes sailing into orbit) Jody Reed Kell won'
throws it away and down to second way off."
goes Walewander. WHOAAA - he years, fiv
had an easy play. soar as he
The TV voice of the Tigers also the travel
owns a General Motors car dealership off his mi
in Arkansas, which his son now Maybe
manages. In addition, he leases out adds. "I ha
over 600 acres of farmland. My wife1
"I really don't do anything," Kell couldn't h
joked. "I used to come home from she's gla
broadcasting, be up the next morning house fora
at 7:00, run to the farm, run to the Tiger
dealership, get everything in order so waiting ft
I could play golf a couple of days. Here's a
Now I get up late, go to the way back
dealership - or not go at all. HIT- an
Everything is geared to TV." After br
We're gonna pause 10 seconds for playoff ga
station identification. You're there is n
watching Tigers '88.... Well the hits, accomplis
the misses, and all the wacky plays a great m
in between - it's those crazy plays moment,a
of the month on Sports Final beauty -
Edition. That's tonight, at 11:30, East flag.
only on Channel 4. "Those
Slowing down? Maybe. Although dramaticg
the delivery is still smooth, recalled.'
confident, and controlled, wild nights telecast w
on the road with Al Kaline don't much."
happen with the same frequency. The m
"AFTER A night game, we
used to go back to the hotel and have
eggs and milk and go to bed," said
Kell. "Now we're getting older and
he'll say 'I don't think I want
anything to eat, do you?' 'Nah, I
nt anything to eat.' So we had waited for had finally come. As
k from the ballpark. he termed it, "a tap to the mound"
r Lemon will lead it off- was hit to Tiger pitcher Frank
pitch outside to Chet... Tanana. Victory was at hand. "'The
nothing in the seventh Tigers win it, the Tigers win it' -
Time called again - now that's all I could think," said Kell. "I
we have? Oh. The big
center field - went back
and it goes down quickly.
rs may go down quickly but
't. Retirement seems a long
"One more year, two more
e more years," the numbers
speaks of his future. Only
would cause him to turn
e even longer than that," he
ave no intention of quitting.
likes it. I like it. Hey, you
have it any better. I think
d to have me out of the
a few days."
bench - they're just
for something to happen.
drive hit deep to left -
k - THIS BALL WELL
d off the fence...
roadcasting All-Star games,
mes and three World Series
not much left for Kell to
sh. But as the saying goes,
oment can happen at any
and last year Kell called a
as the Tigers won the AL
were some of the most
games I'd ever seen," Kell
"You're pumped up for the
when a game means that
oment he and all of Detroit
didn't realize what I said until I saw
it on replay."
WELL FOR Al Kaline and
Bernie Smilovitz this is George Kell
hoping you'll be with us this Friday
night at 7:30 when the Tigers face
the Boston Red Sox. Once again the
final score today in 10 innings:
Boston three and Detroit nothing. _
The game is over. The Tigers lost.
George Kell looks out in a daze onto
an emptying stadium.
The organist belts out "Thats
Kell's fingers pound out the tune's
rhythm. His job is done. And off
he'll fly tonight, into the Arkansas
sunset. Back home. Leaving his
Tigers - the team he loves, for his
family, his home.
That's George Kell.
" Member of the Baseball Hall of
" Teams with Al Kaline to form the
only Hall of Fame broadcast team in
- Led the league in batting with a
.343 average in 1949.
- Holds a .306 lifetime average.
" Batted over .300 nine times.
" Led American League third basemen
with fielding percentage seven times.
- Led American League third basemen
in assists four times.
Hall of Fame duo George Kell and Al Kaline have been
calling the Tigers' games since 1976. Although Kell has been
on the Detroit scene for many years, his heart remains in
Continued from Page 12
boxers were buoyed considerably
yesterday. "We ain't losing
nothing," said heavyweight Ray
Mercer after watching Arthur
Johnson give the U.S team its third
straight victory and fourth of the
Johnson stopped Bishnubahadur
Sing of Nepal in the second round of
a 112-pound bout for his second
victory, putting the Americans at 4-
"Everybody's fired up," said
Johnson after being loudly cheered
on by several teammates.
"Everybody is cheering for you. You
can hear them. It helps a lot."
JOHNSON'S victory set up a
second major U.S-South Korean
matchup. The United States won the
first one when Michael Carbajal of
Phoenix turned in a big third round
for a 3-2 victory on the morning card
over Oh Kwang-soo, the favorite for
a gold medal at 106 pounds.
The 22-year-old Johnson, of
Minneapolis, will meet Kim
Kwang-sun of South Korea in the
Kim, who lost to 106-pound gold
medalist Paul Gonzalez of Los
Angeles in the first round at the
1984 Olympics, won his second
bout within the distance when he
stopped Nokuthula Tashabangu of
Zimbabwe in the second round.
Johnson watched the first round
of the Kim fight and said, "I feel if
I'm at my best, I'm pretty hard to
"You have to keep Kim at bay
with a left hand," U.S head coach
Ken Adams said. "When Arthur is
inside the idea is not to slug out
with him, but to throw fast
combinations and get out. You have
to stay away from his right, but he
from all of us
has a good left hook, too."
"I've seen strong guys before,"
Johnson said. "I've fought the
Meanwhile, the Soviet Union
won three more fights last night and
ARE A GREAT
WAY TO GET
September 21 & 22
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I Comniuter Kicko~ff '88