According to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle, former Red Sox third base coach, Wendell Kim, died on Sunday at the age of 64.
Kim, believed to be the first Korean-American to wear a major league uniform, served as a coach for the Red Sox from 1997 to 2000. He also coached for the San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers, Montreal Expos, and Chicago Cubs. Kim retired from baseball after the Cubs fired him following the 2004 season.
Born in Hawaii, Kim grew up in East Los Angeles and suffered hardships during his childhood. His father, a boxer, was killed after being shot in the head and chest when Kim was young.
Though he never made it to the majors as a player, Kim put together a respectable career in the Giants minor league system from 1973-1980. He holds a career .285 batting average and .363 on-base percentage through eight seasons. He then served as a coach in the minors before finally making it to The Show on the Giants coaching staff in 1989. After the team fired him in 1996, Kim was “stunned”: “I’ve got to think about it. I’ve never been in this situation before,” he said. “The Giants have always been good to me in the 24 years I’ve worked for them. This has hit me pretty hard.”
Kim rebounded when he joined the Red Sox coaching staff the following season.
While no official cause of death has been released, Kim was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s shortly after leaving the Cubs.
With nicknames like “Wave ’em in Wendell” and “Wavin’ Wendell,” Kim will be remembered for his aggressive approach to sending base runners home, as well as his unwavering passion for the game.
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