September 3, 1913|
McNairy County, Tennessee
|Died: December 17, 1975
|April 24, 1943, for the Boston Braves|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 23, 1945, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Runs batted in||55|
|Career highlights and awards|
Major Kerby Farrell (September 3, 1913 – December 17, 1975) was an American professional baseball player, coach and manager. He was a longtime minor league manager who spent but a single season — 1957 — as a pilot in Major League Baseball. Farrell was a three-time winner of The Sporting News' Minor League Manager of the Year award (1954, 1956 and 1961) — the only man to have won the award more than twice (as of 2015).
Born in Leapwood, McNairy County, Tennessee, Farrell played college baseball at Freed-Hardeman College for two years. In his playing days, he was a first baseman and veteran minor-leaguer who appeared in two full MLB seasons during the World War II manpower shortage, with the 1943 Boston Braves and the 1945 Chicago White Sox, batting .262 with 177 hits, no home runs and 55 runs batted in in 188 games played. He also pitched in five games for the 1943 Braves, losing his only decision and compiling an earned run average of 4.30 in 23 innings of work. He batted and threw left-handed, stood 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall and weighed 172 pounds (78 kg).
Farrell began his managing career before the war in the Class C Middle Atlantic League in 1941–42. In 1947, he became a skipper in the farm system of the Cleveland Indians with the Spartanburg Peaches of the Class B Tri-State League and began a steady rise through the Cleveland organization. His 1953 Reading Indians of the Class A Eastern League won 101 games, while his 1954 and 1956 Indianapolis Indians, then Cleveland's Triple-A club, won American Association pennants and the 1956 Junior World Series. These triumphs earned Farrell his first two managerial awards.
At the close of the 1956 season, when the Indians finished as runners-up to the New York Yankees, Cleveland manager Al López resigned to become the new skipper of the White Sox and Farrell was promoted to succeed him. The 1957 campaign was a star-crossed season for the Indians. Prodigal left-handed pitcher Herb Score, a strikeout king and 20-game winner in 1956, was nearly blinded on May 7 by a line drive off the bat of the Yankees' Gil McDougald, and missed the rest of the campaign. Two other 20-game winners from '56, eventual Hall of Famers Bob Lemon and Early Wynn, slumped to below .500 records. While 1957 saw the debut of Roger Maris, who played for Farrell with Indianapolis, the Indians fell to a 76–77 (.497) record and a sixth-place finish, the team changed general managers (from Hank Greenberg to Frank Lane), and Farrell was fired.
He then returned to the minors, where he managed in the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and Minnesota Twins organizations. He also coached for the White Sox (1966–69) and Indians (1970–71). As a minor league skipper over 21 seasons, Farrell won 1,710 games, losing 1,456 (.540).
- Johnson, Lloyd, ed., The Minor League Register. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 1994.
- Marcin, Joe, ed., The Baseball Register. St. Louis: The Sporting News, 1970.