(May 5, 2012) -- Hal Keller, who spent 16 years running the Player Development Operation for the Washington-Texas franchise, passed away early this morning after a long illness at his home in Sequim, Washington. Mr. Keller was 84 years old.
Mr. Keller served as Director of Player Development for the expansion Washington Senators from 1961-62 and 1965-71 before holding the same position with the Texas Rangers from 1972-78. Among the players who came through the Senators-Rangers organization in his tenure were Jeff Burroughs, Mike Hargrove, Toby Harrah, Bill Madlock, Roy Smalley, and Jim Sundberg.
“Hal Keller signed me to my first contract in 1966 when I was 18 years old,” commented current Rangers television analyst and club Hal of Famer Tom Grieve. “He was one of the most respected talent evaluators in the game but more importantly was one of the most well-liked individuals in baseball. Along with many others, I will miss a great friend, and my thoughts are with his wife Carol and his entire family.”
Born July 7, 1927 in Middletown, MD, Mr. Keller graduated from the University of Maryland. He spent seven seasons in the Washington Senators organization as a catcher, including 25 games over three years with the major league club. Mr. Keller began his post-playing career as a minor league manager for the Senators in 1958 before serving as the organization’s Assistant Farm Director the next two years. He joined the Seattle Mariners as Player Development Director in 1979 before serving as that club’s General Manager from 1984-85.
The younger brother of former Yankees star Charlie “King Kong” Keller, Mr. Keller later scouted for the California Angels, Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians. He received the George Genovese Lifetime Achievement Award in Scouting from the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation at its 7th annual banquet.
While with the Rangers, he introduced the radar gun to major league baseball on the recommendation of former ML outfielder and Michigan State Baseball Coach Danny Litwhiler.
Memorial services in his native Maryland and his residence of Sequim, Washington will be scheduled in the next few weeks.