George Kissell, 88, senior field coordinator for player development for the St. Louis Cardinals, died on Tuesday in Tampa, Florida due to injuries suffered in an automobile accident on Monday evening. He had served the organization for 69 seasons.
On February 23, 2005, the Cardinals unveiled a plaque outside the clubhouse at
the Cardinals Complex in Jupiter to honor Kissell which reads, in part: "Every player in the Cardinals' Organization since 1940 has had contact with George Kissell and they have all been better for it. … Well known for his emphasis on fundamentals, George taught several generations of Redbirds how to play baseball."
Most recently, Kissell assisted the Cardinals’ minor league affiliates and handled instructional duties for the minor leagues during spring training and extended spring training.
Kissell began his baseball career by spending ten years in the minor leagues as an infielder and served the Cardinals in many capacities since joining the organization in 1940. From 1946 to 1968, he worked as a manager, coach, scout and minor league instructor. Kissell was a coach for the Major League club from 1969 to 1975 and a special field assistant to General Manager Bing Devine in 1976.
Kissell, a Watertown, NY, native, graduated with a master’s degree from Ithaca (NY) College. He was enshrined in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in February, 2004. He and his wife, Ginny, lived in St. Petersburg and had two children, a son, Dick, and a daughter, Kay.
On Monday evening, Kay Kidwell was at the wheel with Ginny Kissell in the front and George behind the driver when their automobile was hit on the left side by another vehicle, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Neither of the women nor the other driver were seriously injured.
We here at The Birdhouse join the St. Louis Cardinals and the entire Cardinals Nation in mourning the death of one of the organization’s true greats – George Kissell.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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