On Christmas Eve, one of the most famous baseball legends passed away. Jerry Kindall, who was the first person to win a College World Series title as both a player and a head coach, passed away.
Kindall was 82-years-old at the time of his death. The University of Arizona made the sad announcement on Saturday. They revealed that Kindall had suffered a stroke on Thursday.
Kindall became well-known as an athlete as a shortstop for the University of Minnesota in 1956 where he won the championship. After, he played in the major leagues for nine seasons with the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, and the Minnesota Twins.
After his successful playing career, Kindall became a coach. He coached the Arizona team to national titles in 1976, 1980, and 1986. Overall, he coached the Wildcats from 1973 to 1996 and had an 860-579-7 record. There is only one other person, Mike Gillespie, to win titles as both a player and a coach.
Kindall was not only known for his athletic abilities, but also for his great character and faith.
Jim Kaat, a former teammate, said, “Saddened and stunned to hear of the passing of Jerry Kindall. A friend, a wonderful teammate. A gentle and kind man of deep Christian faith. And a coach that impacted many lives. A life well lived. Condolences to the Kindall family.”
Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona said, “Some people talk the talk, he walked the walk. He lived his life just like you’re supposed to. It’s easy to say things, but he lived it.”
“In a nutshell, he taught us not only to respect the game of baseball, but respect the people in the game,” he continued. “That was the most valuable lesson any of us learned. He taught us how to act and treat people.”
The Wildcats coach said, “This is a sad day for Arizona baseball. Jerry Kindall is one of the greatest college baseball coaches of all-time, but he was much more than that. I don’t think there is anyone that was held in higher regard for the person that they were as Coach Kindall was.”
He continued, “He was almost a larger than life person, and when you talk about being an elite coach, and more importantly, an elite person, he was and will continue to be the standard. I am honored to be a part of the program that Coach made so great for so long.”
The coach was given three different hall of fame awards: the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1991, the University of Minnesota Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995, and the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
Please pray for Kindall’s family during this sad Christmas time. In other recent news, an update has been issued for an Amber Alert for a 2-year-old girl.