Sunday, June 12, 2016

Red Sox in Cooperstown Pt. 20: George Kell

Years in Boston: 1952-1954 (.305/.383/.451, 18 home runs, 123 RBIs)
Best Year in Boston: 1953 (.307/.383/.483, 12 home runs, 73 RBIs)
Another player that spent just a brief amount of his Hall of Fame career in Boston was third-baseman George Kell.  Third base is an under-represented position in the Hall, but Kell is a borderline selection at best anyway.  He had his best seasons with the Tigers, a team itself that is somewhat under-represented, and was traded to Boston at the age of 29.  He was acquired during the season in 1952, along with Dizzy Trout and others for Red Sox fan favorites Johnny Pesky and Walt Dropo, plus a few other players.  Previously, Kell was mostly known to Red Sox fans for barely beating out Ted Williams for the batting title in 1949, costing him his third Triple Crown.

Kell was acquired after playing 39 games with the Tigers in 1952.  He made the All Star team that first season and he hit .319/.390/.453.  Kell was never really known for his power.  He hit seven home runs for the season, with six of them coming for Boston.

1953 was Kell's best season with the Red Sox and represented his career high in home runs, the only time he hit double digits.  Kell garnered some minor MVP consideration and made the All Star team again as he hit .307/.383/.483.  He hit 12 home runs and drove in 73 runs.  He also hit 41 doubles, the second most he hit in his career.  Always difficult to strike out, Kell was punched out just 22 times over the season, while he walked 52 times.

Kell started the 1954 season slowly, hitting just .258 with no home runs in 26 games before he was traded to the White Sox for Grady Hatton and some money.  Kell rebounded somewhat and ended up making the All Star team again.

George Kell is one of three Red Sox third-basemen in the Hall of Fame, and he is the most borderline of the three candidates.  Kell played parts of three seasons for the Red Sox, but only one full season.  That season was impressive enough and was one of his better seasons, but most of his productive seasons came with the Tigers.

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