(Redirected from Leon Kellman)
Edric León Kellman
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 160 lb.
León Kellman was a Negro League infielder who was noted for his managing and play for his native Panama as well. Additionally, Kellman played in the Mexican League. He played catcher, outfield and pitcher at times as well as pitcher; in Panama, he was primarily a catcher. He was a 4-time All-Star in the Negro Leagues.
Kellman was with the Panamanian national team from a young age. He hit the only home run of the 1941 Amateur World Series and led the 1945 Amateur World Series with two homers. Kellman hit .370 for General Electric in the 1945-1946 Panama League.
Kellman came to the USA in 1946 with the Cleveland Buckeyes and batted .301 as their starting third baseman. He hit .306 in 1947. In the second 1947 East-West Game, the Panamanian was 0 for 2 after entering as a pinch-hitter for Herb Souell. In the 1947 Negro World Series, he went 8 for 20 to lead the Buckeyes' position players though they featured three future major leaguers in Al Smith, Sam Jethroe and Quincy Trouppe. Cleveland lost the Series in 5 games.
Kellman had another solid season for Cleveland in 1948 in the Negro Leagues, batting .307, better than Jethroe, Elston Howard or Willie Mays did that year in the Negro American League. In the second 1948 East-West Game, he was 0 for 1 with an error after replacing Souell at third base.
León hit .357 in the 1948-1949 Panama League for Spur Cola. He piloted the team to a third-place finish in the first Caribbean Series. He hit .238 as Spur Cola's catcher in the Series, but did steal four bases to tie Chuck Connors and Sammy Bankhead for the Series lead.
Kellman moved to the Memphis Red Sox in 1950 and posted a .329 average in the dwindling Negro Leagues. In the 1950 East-West Game, he again struggled, going 0 for 2 with an error as Souell's sub at third base for the West. Back in Panama, he hit .343 for Spur Cola. In the 1951 Caribbean Series, he was 2 for 9 with a run as a part-time catcher while managing Spur Cola to a last-place finish.
Kellman went to Mexico in 1951 and hit .292/~.407/.450 for the Veracruz Eagle, hitting 10 home runs in 271 AB. He showed a great batting eye with 43 walks to only 11 strikeouts. In the 1952 Caribbean Series, Kellman was 1 for 10 with a double and 2 runs as a part-time catcher for Carta Vieja.
Back in Mexico for a fair portion of 1953, the 26-year-old Panamanian veteran hit .268/~.416/.373, drawing 64 walks in 79 games while only striking out 21 times. León batted .357/.502/.608 for the Nuevo Laredo Owls in 1954. He scored 74 runs and hit 13 homers in 73 games, driving in 61. He drew 71 walks and struck out 21 times. He was two points behind Rene Gonzalez in the batting race and might have led the Mexican League in both OBP and slugging.
In 1955, Kellman hit .336/.458/.487 for Nuevo Laredo. He scored 80 runs and drew 74 walks in 100 games. The next season, he produced at a .297/.444/.429 with 72 walks to 23 strikeouts in 296 AB.
Kellman hit .309/.435/.423 for the 1957 Yucatan Lions. He managed Panama's Cervez Balboa team to second place in the 1958 Caribbean Series; he was 0 for 1 as the backup to Marcos Cobos at catcher. He concluded his career in 1958, batting .279/.405/.394 in 34 games for Yucatan and the Mexico City Red Devils.
Kellman hit .297 in 10 seasons in Panama. In 7 seasons in Mexico, he batted .309/~.440/.456 with 453 walks and 156 strikeouts in 566 games.
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- The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley
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