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The one thing that I have learned over the past five years is that the list of people that don't like Don Kelly is a very short one.  In fact, I can't find anyone to put on the list. 

Kelly is the definition of overachiever.  He didn't play Division 1 college baseball, instead reaching All-American status at NAIA Point Park University in Pittsburgh.

Kelly has always been one of Jim Leyland's favorites.  He can play multiple infield and outfield positions and provides the roster with the flexibility that all managers love.

He's not a star player, but has been involved in many of the Tigers biggest moments the past two years. 

There is the solo homer he hit off Trevor Cahill of the A's in the 7th inning of the September 16th game in 2011, giving the Tigers an insurance run in a 3-1 division clinching win in Oakland.

There is the home run in a clinching Game 5 of the 2011 ALDS off Ivan Nova, helping the Tigers eliminate the Yankees. 

The game-winning, bases loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning last October, to send the Tigers to a 2-0 lead in the ALDS.

And, one of my favorite moments, the night Kelly donned the catcher's equipment and subbed for the injured Victor Martinez in a lopsided loss to the Giants.  Kelly caught six innings that night, which was three days after he made his first appearance on the mound, pitching against the New York Mets.

So, by signing a minor-league deal with an invite to camp, Kelly potentially keeps alive his Tigers career.

Here is the complete list of non-roster invitees announced by the Tigers:

Trevor Bell, Shawn Hill, Michael Morrison, Jose Alvarez, Kenny Faulk, Ryan Robowski, Curt Casali, Brad Davis, James McCann, Argenis Diaz, Eugenio Suarez, Tyler Collins, Daniel Fields, Nick Castellanos, Don Kelly, Kevin Russo, Matt Tuiasosopo

 


Comments

01/16/2013 14:16

Despite that Don Kelly probably was one of the best ballplayers in his neighbourhood as a kid, one of the best players on his PeeWee (or Little League) team, one of the best players on his high school team, he is fairly average as a Major Leaguer. Yet... he represents every baseball playing kid who thought that one day, the big leagues would be a reality, only to not survive the last cut.

I know it's hoping against hope that he'll be on the Tigers' roster at the end of spring training, but I'm glad he agreed to the minor league deal and will try again to make the cut.

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05/21/2013 06:28

I love baseball and thank you for the blog which is dedicated to sports. The posting that you have done about Don Kelly is very interesting to read. The updates and writings that you have done on your blog is very useful in following the baseball world.

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10/04/2013 08:43

You are absolutely right, Don Kelly is brilliant achiever. I would love to know about his past matches.

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