Ellis Kinder


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Born: July 26, 1914
Place: Atkins, Arkansas
Died: October 16, 1968
Place: Jackson, Tennessee

Height: 6'-0"
Weight: 190

Batted: Right
Threw: Right


Jackson Generals

Kitty League 
Hall of Fame

July 13, 1953


Ellis Kinder began his professional baseball career on May 16, 1938 when he relieved starting pitcher Porter Witt in the third inning against the Mayfield Clothiers. The Jackson Generals were behind 3-0 and the Arkansas right-hander gave up two more runs on four hits, a balk, and a wild pitch before yielding to reliever Lester Gray in the sixth.

He didn't pitch again for the Generals until the following season when he won 17 games and struck out 200 batters in 1939. He did even better a year later, finishing with a 21-9 record and setting a new Kitty League single-season strikeout record with 307 in 176 innings pitched. The Generals took the first-half title and went on to capture the postseason championship against the Bowling Green Barons.

Before the end of the  season, Kinder's contract was sold to the New York Yankees organization reportedly for $3,500. Half the sale price was given to Jackson at the end of the 1940 season with the remainder due after the first month of the 1941 season. 

Kinder pitched for their Binghampton farm club, but the Yankees claimed he had a sore arm and asked for a 30-day extension on paying the remainder of the sale price. The extension was granted, then a month later they asked to renegotiate the sale price altogether. The Generals declined and asked for Kinder's contract back. (The real reason the Yankees changed their mind reportedly was his love of liquor and their fear that he would negatively influence the younger players.)

The return of the 27-year-old right-hander reinforced an already dominant Jackson  pitching staff. He contributed 11 wins down the stretch as  the Generals  captured the pennant in 1941. His contract was sold to the Memphis Chicks at the end of the season.

Five years later, Kinder was a major leaguer with the St. Louis Browns and was traded to the Boston Red Sox before the 1949 season. There he won 23 games and helped the Red Sox clinch a first-place tie in the last game of the regular season. In that game, he held his old organization, the New York Yankees, to one run through eight innings before he was taken out for a pinch-hitter. Boston lost the game and the American League pennant.

Kinder pitched for 12 seasons in the major leagues with the Browns, Red Soz, St. Louis Cardinals, and Chicago White Sox, closing his career at the age of 42 in 1957. He won 102 games and as one of the first relief closers saved 102 games.




Kitty League Pitching Statistics

1938 Jackson 6.00 0 0 1 0 3 2 4 0 0
1939 Jackson 3.59 17 12 30 13 223 89 217 82 200
1940 Jackson 2.38 21 9 32 29 276 73 239 81 307
1941 Jackson 2.88 11 6 18 17 153 49 113 47 179
Total 4 seasons 2.93 49 27 81 59 655 213 573 210 686


(c) 2006 Kevin D. McCann. All rights reserved.