Jerry Kindall played major league baseball from 1956 through 1965 but it was not his baseball playing or coaching skills that he is most remembered for, it was his compassion for everyone off the field that brings back the best Jerry Kindall memories.
Gerald Donald Kindall was born in St. Paul Minnesota on May 27, 1935 and passed away in Tucson, Arizona on Christmas Eve 2017 after suffering a stroke on December 21st.
Kindall signed a $50,000 bonus contract with the Chicago Cubs soon after he led the Minnesota Gophers to the 1956 national championship. He did so, in part, because his parents needed the money. His stepmother, Isabel, incapacitated by multiple sclerosis, had been confined to a wheelchair since Jerry was 12. His father, Harold, drove a truck from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and then worked a shift at the railroad five nights a week.
Kindall, known as “Slim” played for the Cubs from 1956 through 1961 and then was traded to the Cleveland Indians. On June 11, 1964 he was part of a three-team trade and ended up in Minnesota along with Frank Kostro from the LA Angels. The Angels sent Billy Moran to the Indians and the Twins traded Lenny Green and Vic Power to the Angels.
Jerry Kindall played 62 games for the Twins in 1964 and 125 games for the AL pennant winning Twins in 1965. Kindall played mainly as a second baseman but also filled in at third and at shortstop. Kindall hit under. 200 both seasons but it wasn’t his bat that the Twins liked, it was his glove and passion. The Minnesota Twins released Kindall in April 1966 and Kindall walked away from the game of baseball as an active player and moved to the coaching side where he excelled and managed Arizona to three National championships.
Kindall was elected to 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.
I was lucky enough to interview Jerry Kindall in January 2011 and he spent over an hour on the phone with me. You can listen to his interview here.
Kindall is survived by his wife, Diane, and stepdaughter, Elise Sargent, as well as four children — Betsy, Doug, Bruce and Martha — from his first marriage to the late Georgia Kindall.
RIP Jerry Kindall and thank you for all the great memories.