Please meet Jerry Kindall
Gerald (Slim) Donald Kindall was born on May 27, 1935 in St. Paul, Minnesota. After graduating from Washington High School, Jerry received a basketball/baseball scholarship to the University of Minnesota. Jerry was selected as a baseball All-American in 1956 when the U of M won the baseball national championship. Kindall left school after the 1956 season and signed a bonus contract with the Chicago Cubs and was in a Cubs uniform the very next day due to “bonus contract” rules that were then in play at the time. Kindall played in Chicago from 1956-1958 and again in 1960-1961 before he was traded to the Cleveland Indians in November of 1961. Kindall played for the Indians for several seasons before being traded in June of 1964, this time to his home town Minnesota Twins. Kindall played for the Twins in 1964-1965 but he was released by the Twins in April of 1966 and walked away from professional baseball at the age of 30. Kindall was the proverbial “good field – no hit” infielder and was prone to the striking out more than he or his teams liked. During his nine seasons in the “bigs”, Kindall hit .213 in 2,057 at bats while hitting 44 home runs, stealing 17 bases and knocking in 198 RBI’s.
After leaving pro ball, Kindall turned to collegiate coaching and this turned out to be Jerry Kindall’s true calling. Kindall coached at the University of Arizona from 1973-1996 and walked away after winning College World Series titles in 1976, 1980, and again in 1986 and posted a record of 860-580-6. During Kindall’s coaching career he had 209 players that signed big league contracts, 34 all-Americans, and 32 of his players went on to play in the major leagues.
Jerry Kindall has also authored several books including “Baseball: Play the Winning Way” and “The Baseball Coaching Bible”. Along the way, Kindall has collected many honors; here are just a couple of them. The University of Arizona’s baseball field, Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium is named after him. Jerry is a member of both the University of Minnesota and University of Arizona Hall of Fames and Jerry was a recipient of the American baseball Coaches Association prestigious “Lefty Gomez Award” in 1999. Kindall is the first person in NCAA history to win a baseball national championship as both a player and a coach. The Fellowship of Christian Athletes Jerry Kindall Character in Coaching award is presented annually to the college or high school coach who best exemplifies the Christian principles of Character, Integrity, Excellence, teamwork, and Service on and off the baseball field. Today, Jerry Kindall is semi-retired and enjoying life in Tucson, Arizona.
The SABR Baseball Biography Project write-up on Jerry can be found here.
The interview with Jerry is 75 minutes in length and took place in January 2011.