YAKIMA, Wash. -- Hubert "Hub" Kittle, pitching coach of
the 1982 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, has died at the
age of 86.
His death Tuesday was confirmed by Keith & Keith Funeral Home.
Kittle was a major league pitching coach for eight years, five
with the Houston Astros (1971-75) and three with the Cardinals
His baseball career began in the Los Angeles Angels' system in
1936 as a pitcher. In 1939, the Yakima Pippins of the Northwest
League bought his contract for $400.
He bounced around several minor league systems until World War
II, where he served in the South Pacific while also playing on Army
baseball teams. Competing Army teams managed by Yankee greats Joe
DiMaggio and Red Ruffing simultaneously recruited him, but Kittle
chose to play for another pitcher in Ruffing.
Upon his return from the war in 1946, Kittle migrated through
the minor leagues for the next 25 years, both as a pitcher and
Kittle was manager and general manager in Yakima from 1955-59
and helped save the Northwest League by arranging major-league
affiliations for some of the its struggling teams. The Sporting
News named him Minor League Executive of the Year in 1960.
He also managed winter teams for 17 years in Mexico, Venezuela,
the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico and said he was proud of
helping to develop a number of players who went on to major league
One of those players, Whitey Herzog, later became manager of the
St. Louis Cardinals and hired Kittle as his pitching coach in 1981.
The next season, the Cardinals won the World Series.
He pitched in six decades, including throwing a perfect inning
in an exhibition game with a Triple-A team in 1980 at the age of
When his wife fell ill, he took a job closer to home as an
organizational pitching instructor for the Seattle Mariners.
Despite health problems, he had worked with the team's pitching
coaches during the past year.
Born Feb. 19, 1917, in Los Angeles, Kittle had maintained a
permanent home in the Yakima area since 1939 and always returned
there during the offseason.