Former Cubs infielder Jerry Kindall dies at 82

Jerry Kindall, whose contributions to baseball ran much deeper than replacing Hall of Famer Ernie Banks at shortstop for the Cubs in 1961, died Sunday night.

Kindall, 82, spent the first five of his nine major-league seasons with the Cubs after signing out of the University of Minnesota in 1956 as a “bonus baby.” Bonus babies were players who signed for bonuses of more than $4,000 and were required to spend two seasons on the major-league roster or be exposed to the postseason draft. According to multiple reports, Kindall received a bonus of $50,000.

But his greatest success came later at the University of Arizona, where he won NCAA titles in 1976, 1980 and 1986. During his 24-year run as Wildcats head coach, Kindall coached future major-league players Terry Francona, Trevor Hoffman, Scott Erickson, J.T. Snow, Kenny Lofton and Joe Magrane.

Kindall, a shortstop on the Minnesota team that won the 1956 College World Series, and Mike Gillespie (USC) are the only people to have played on and coached CWS title teams.

With the Cubs, Kindall occasionally spelled Banks at shortstop while also playing second and third base. According to multiple reports, after a tough road trip in the late 1950s Banks told Kindall, “Jerry, we’re going home where people are friendly — back to the Friendly Confines.”

Kindall replied, “Ah, the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.”

Kindall made his first major-league start at shortstop on Aug. 11, 1956, after Banks was sidelined with a hand infection that ended his streak of consecutive games starting at shortstop at 424. Kindall finally took over for Banks, who moved to left field because of knee troubles, on May 23, 1961.

But Kindall’s lack of hitting caused the Cubs to put Andre Rodgers at shortstop, move Banks to first base and trade Kindall to the Indians after the 1961 season. Kindall ended his career with the Twins and finished with a .213 batting average in 742 games.

Kindall joined the University of Minnesota coaching staff in 1967 and served there until Arizona hired him. He was named to the college baseball, Minnesota and Arizona halls of fame.

Kindall is survived by his wife, Diane, and stepdaughter, Elise Sargent, as well as four children — Betsy, Doug, Bruce and Martha — from his first marriage to the late Georgia Kindall.

Twitter @MDGonzales

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