Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Corrected version

Major League Baseball

Hub Kittle, M's special pitching instructor, dead at 86

Yakima Herald-Republic

Hub Kittle, the only man to pitch in six different decades, died at Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center yesterday, from complications related to kidney failure and diabetes. Mr. Kittle was 86.

Among his notable achievements was pitching a perfect exhibition inning for the Class AAA Louisville Redbirds in 1980 at age 63, thereby becoming the only man to pitch in six decades.

Mr. Kittle, a Mariners special pitching instructor through last season, also was a pitching coach for St. Louis, which won the 1982 World Series.

"I've known Hub for a long time," said Benny Looper, the Mariners' vice president of player development and scouting. "I first met him when I was in the Cardinal organization as a player and he was scouting for them.

"He was a rough-acting, rough-sounding guy, but he had a giant heart for people. I was sad to hear the news, but I know he'd been suffering for quite awhile."

Yet not enough to keep him from instructing Mariners pitching prospects when the Everett AquaSox, Seattle's Northwest League affiliate, visited Yakima last summer. It was Mr. Kittle's 64th season in professional baseball.

Mr. Kittle's pro career began in 1936, when he pitched for the Santa Catalina Angels. Kittle's climb through the Pacific Coast League was interrupted by World War II, and his hopes of pitching in the majors apparently ended with his service in the Army from 1943-46.

Nonetheless he spent his next 25 years in the minor leagues as a pitcher, manager and general manager. He managed the Yakima Bears from 1955-59 and the Yakima Braves from 1964-65, winning Northwest League titles in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1964.

As the team's general manager in 1960, Mr. Kittle was named The Sporting News Minor League Executive of the Year. He also managed winter-league teams in Mexico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Last September, Mr. Kittle was inducted into the Washington Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Safeco Field. He is survived by two sons, Chuck Kittle of Edgewood and Eddy Kittle of Packwood; a daughter, Diana Harris of Yakima; and stepchildren Connie Berger and Steve Breum of Vancouver, Wash.; Kay Parton of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Kerry Breum of Naches.

Information in this article, originally published February 11, has been corrected. Hub Kittle, a special pitching instructor in the Mariners organization until last season, died Tuesday at Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center. An obituary by the Yakima Herald-Republic on Wednesday said he died at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company


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