Most people think of Baseball Hall-of-Fame third baseman George Kell as a Detroit Tiger. That’s not surprising, as he played in parts of eight seasons with the Tigers and was a Tigers broadcaster for thirty-seven years. But, he started out with the Philadelphia A’s, and the Tigers actually traded Kell to the Boston Red Sox in 1952!
George Kell was part of a nine-player trade that involved Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky going to Detroit. After the trade, Kell hit .319/.390/.453 for the Sox in 75 games. In 1953, Kell would hit 307.383.483 and enjoy a 3 WAR season.
Unfortunately, 1953 would see Kell hit only .258/.361/.290 in 26 games for the Sox. He’d be traded to the Chicago White Sox for infielder Grady Hatton and $100,000. Hatton would finish out 1954 well with the Red Sox. Kell would have one more good season with the White Sox in 1955.
There are actually a fair amount of George Kell baseball cards out there depicting the Hall of Fame ballplayer on the Red Sox. The most valuable are graded examples of 1953 Topps #138 and 1954 Bowman #50.
George Kell’s 1953 Topps card is valued around $300 for PSA 8 (Near Mint POP 76) examples, over $600 for PSA 8.5 (Near-Mint+ POP 5), and $1,750 for PSA 9 (Mint POP 8)!
Kell’s 1954 Bowman is much more affordable at around $80 for a PSA 8 (POP 84 + 7 with an Off-Center Qualifier), $115 for a PSA 8.5 (POP 3) and $475 for a PSA 9 (POP 9)! There are about the same amount of PSA 8 and PSA 8.5 of each of these cards in existence, but they are still fairly rare.
While George Kell’s legacy is as a Detroit Tiger, his short, fairly productive time with the Boston Red Sox makes his key cards quite valuable to any serious Red Sox baseball card collector.