Alston, Kell, Marichal, Robinson enter as Class of 1983
“I wish to give special thanks to those who are with me here today from the Dominican Republic,” Marichal said. “I know that many of them have made great sacrifices to be here with us on such a special day.”
“The Dominican Dandy” never forgot his roots. After his playing days were over, Marichal was selected to be the minister of sports back home in the Dominican Republic.
Former MLB pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez points out the love that Juan Marichal had for his home was a two-way street. “When I went to high school, he was in the (history) books. Everyone talked about Juan Marichal.”
Two baseball greats were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983 from the Veterans Committee: Former manager Walter Alston and third baseman George Kell.
Alston managed the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers club from 1954 to 1976. His teams won four world championships, while he was honored with Manager of the Year six times. In 23 seasons, his teams racked up 2,040 wins.
“Smokey” – as he was known because of the heat of his fastball in high school – was always known as a player’s manager.
“His legacy is unspoiled by anything petty. I can’t think of anyone ever holding a grudge against Walt,” former pitcher Don Drysdale raved about his manager. “People got mad, got traded away, but when everyone sat back they realized what he was trying to do. If you couldn’t play for Walt, you couldn’t play for anybody.”
George Kell starred at third base a generation before Brooks Robinson, playing for five teams in his 15-year career, most famously for the Detroit Tigers.
Kell was traded to Detroit during the 1946 season, and starting in 1947 Kell made six straight trips to the All-Star Game.
Arguably Kell’s best year came while he was a Tiger. In 1950, he carried a batting average of .340 and drove in 101 runs, while scoring 114 runs as well, placing him fourth in the AL MVP balloting.
Overall, Kell registered nine years with a .300 batting average or better and his career average was .306. He ended his career with 2,054 hits.
Upon entering the Hall of Fame’s Plaque Gallery Kell fell into utter amazement when thinking about the company he had just joined, “I’m in awe of it. It immortalizes you. It puts you next to the people you don’t belong next to.”
Andrew Kivette was the 2013 public relations intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development