Leavengood: Hal Keller remembered

From SABR member Ted Leavengood at Seamheads.com on June 8, 2012:

Hal Keller, former catcher for the Washington Nationals and baseball executive for the expansion Washington Senators and Seattle Mariners, died this week at the age of 85. Hal was a local product, born in Western Maryland–Middletown to be exact–and started his career at Hagerstown, MD playing in the baseball organization just down the road in DC. He went to the University of Maryland as well. His SABR biography, linked to here, was written by Chip Greene, Seamheads writer and Podcaster.

Hal was part of a baseball family whose brother, Charlie “King Kong” Keller enjoyed a 13-year career as a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees beginning in 1939. As a player Hal managed only 57 plate appearances in three seasons with the Nationals. He started his career as an outfielder with a rifle for an arm, but was converted to catcher by the Nationals. He spent eight seasons in the minors, playing for seven different teams, with a lifetime minor league slash line of .291/.301/427.

Hal’s baseball skills may have played best in the front office where he excelled as a talent scout and organizational genius. The expansion Washington Senators lacked many things, but Keller’s eye for talent was on a par with anyone’s. He began as a minor league manager for the Washington Senators in 1958 in Superior Nebraska., but quickly was promoted to Assistant Farm Manager the following season working for the Griffith family.

Hal only worked for the organization for three years, but maintained great respect for the family. Chip and I had Hal on the “Outta the Parkway” show last February for one of our most popular shows ever. He and I spoke after the show about Clark Griffith and what it was like playing for the Old Fox and working for the family. He told me as he did Chip for his SABR biography, “”The Griffiths had a reputation for being cheap. They were never cheap. They did everything first class — what they could afford.”

Read the full article here: http://seamheads.com/2012/06/08/hal-keller-remembered/

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Originally published: June 8, 2012. Last Updated: June 8, 2012.