TUCSON, Ariz. ?- Jerry Kindall, the first person to ever win a College World Series title as both a player and a head coach, has been voted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame, the College Baseball Foundation announced today.
The Class of 2007, just the second to be elected to the hall, includes Kindall, his collegiate coach at Minnesota Dick Siebert, Kindall’s long-time rival at Arizona State Jim Brock, Chuck “Bobo” Brayton from Washington State and Bibb Falk from Texas among the coaches. The players voted in are Jim Abbott of Michigan, Pete Incaviglia of Oklahoma State, Fred Lynn of USC, John Olerud of Washington State, Phil Stephenson of Wichita Satte and Derek Tatsuno of Hawaii.
“I’m thrilled to be included with a number of legendary coaches and players,” Kindall said. “I’m truly humbled by the great honor and touched to be going into the Hall of Fame with my college coach Dick Siebert, from whom I learned everything about baseball, as well as my good friend Jim Brock.”
Kindall, who was a member of Minnesota’s 1956 College World Series team that defeated Arizona for the national championship, spent 24 years as the head coach at UA. He guided the Wildcats to three national championships in baseball, including UA’s first-ever team championship in any sport in 1976, and he holds the all-time wins record with an 860-579-7 coaching mark in Tucson.
A three-time national coach of the year, Kindall won three Pac-10 titles and a WAC pennant at Arizona. His teams advanced to the NCAA postseason 12 times during his tenure at UA and played in five College World Series in Omaha, Neb. At the CWS, he won three national championships over a 10-year span, taking home titles in 1976, 1980 and 1986.
His players garnered 34 first team All-America honors during his time at UA and a total of 71 were feted with all-conference recognition. A total of 209 players under Kindall signed professional baseball contracts, including 32 who went on to play in the Major Leagues.
Kindall coached three College World Series MVPs, four Pac-10 South Players of the Year and he guided current Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona to the 1980 Golden Spikes Award, which is presented to the nation’s top collegiate baseball player.
Kindall, who graduated from Minnesota, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and he spent eight seasons in the Major Leagues with the Cubs, the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins.
Kindall was inducted into the Arizona Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996 and the University of Minnesota Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995. In January of 2004 Arizona renamed its baseball facility Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium.
“I’m very happy for Coach Kindall and he is very deserving of this great honor,” current Arizona head coach Andy Lopez said. “Coach was grateful enough to invite me as a young man to play his great Arizona teams when I was just starting out in coaching at Cal State Dominguez Hills. He mostly beat us up every year, but the way his teams played became a valuable teaching tool for me with my players.”
Kindall, who retired as the Wildcats’ skipper in 1996, and his wife, Diane, still call Tucson home.