George Kell

George KellKell narrowly won the 19549 American League batting title when he edged Ted Williams by less than a hundredth of a point in the closest batting race in history. He was on the on deck circle waiting to hit when teammate Eddie Lake hit into a double play to end the season.

From the late 1940s through most of the 1950s, Kell was considered the best fielding third baseman in the American League, and the best overall third baseman in the AL. He played for five of the eight AL clubs, earning All-Star selections with Detroit, Boston, Chicago, and Baltimore. At the age of 34 in his final season with the Orioles, Kell was still hitting the ball really well (he hit .312 after the All-Star break), but the team had 20-year old Brooks Robinson in the wings waiting to take over at the hot corner. Kell stepped aside and welcomed the opportunity to mentor Robinson, also a native of Arkansas, in that final season when they were teammates.

In a game at Yankee Stadium in 1948, Joe DiMaggio smashed a line drive to third that struck George Kell and broke his jaw. Kell missed a month for that injury and another month that year for a fractured wrist.

In 1981, Detroit manager Sparky Anderson asked Kell to work with young third baseman Tom Brookens on his defense at third base. It was the first time Kell had put on a uniform since his retirement in 1957.