Friday, December 27, 2013

Player Profile: Albert Belle

I have 105 cards of Albert Belle. This one is from 1990 Upper Deck.

Playing career: Albert Belle was one of the best power hitters of the 1990s. In a career cut short to twelve seasons due to a hip injury, he hit 381 home runs and drove in 1239 runs. In his last ten major league seasons, he never hit fewer than 23 home runs or drove in fewer than 95 runs.

Interesting facts: Belle would probably be in the Hall of Fame if it weren’t for his terrible personality. He was fined, suspended, demoted etc. many times for various outbursts of temper. Most significant were a domestic violence incident in 1998, in which an ex-girlfriend received an order of protection against Belle, and 2006, when he was sentenced to 90 days in jail after being convicted of felony stalking another former girlfriend. In 1998, a book called Don’t Call Me Joey:The Wit and Wisdom of Albert Belle was published, detailing many of his disgraceful actions on and off the field. (Albert Jojuan Belle used to be called Joey but changed his preference to Albert after a rehab stint early in his career. That is why, for the first couple of seasons of his career, Belle’s cards call him Joey instead of Albert.)

My memories: I remember always hearing about Belle being in trouble. Some incidents, like chasing vandals who were egging his home on Halloween, I can muster sympathy for. Others, like the domestic violence, there is no excuse.

Where he is now: A self-proclaimed “Mr. Mom” who stays home with his wife and four daughters. He walks with a limp due to the hip surgery that ended his career.

Google Autocomplete results: He is third when you type Albert B, between Albert Bandura, a psychology professor at Stanford, and Albert Bierstadt, a 19th-century painter. Another prominent Albert Belle is a winemaker in France.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Mark Bellhorn.

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