Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Player Profile: George Bell

I have 114 cards of George Bell. This one is from 1993 Upper Deck.

Playing career: George Bell was a part of the Blue Jays outfield of the mid-1980s that was considered one of the best-hitting outfields of all time. He drove in 85+ runs for nine straight seasons, and was the AL MVP in 1987, hitting .308 with 47 HR and 134 RBI. He probably didn’t deserve the award, considering that in the 7-game losing streak Toronto ended the season with to blow what seemed like a sure division title, Bell went just 3-27 (all singles) with 1 RBI. The next spring he got into a feud with manager Jimy Williams over Williams’s attempt to make Bell a DH. He later signed a big free agent contract with the Cubs, the same year they signed Danny Jackson and Dave Smith in an ill-fated attempt to buy a title in 1991. All three players were busts for Chicago.

Interesting facts: Bell was well-known for his temper, though teammates said it was a byproduct of his win-at-all-costs mentality. An in-depth Sports Illustrated piece in 1990 also indicated that fierce arguments were a part of Bell’s Dominican culture.

Early baseball cards called him “Jorge Bell” instead of George Bell. However, his birth name is George, not Jorge. His family came to the Dominican from British and Dutch colonies.

His temper is probably most famously captured in the 1985 incident when he charged the mound against Red Sox pitcher Bruce Kison and attempted a weak karate kick at him.
My memories: I remember him as a player with a dangerous bat but one that did not get the kind of respect that other stars did because of his contentious relationship with the media.

Where he is now: He lives in the Dominican Republic, where his family owns gas stations. He also occasionally works with players on that country’s national baseball team.

Google Autocomplete results: He is seventh when you type George Be, between George Bellows, a painter, and George Bell Basketball, a former Harlem Globetrotter who at 7’8” is considered the tallest man in America. Another prominent George Bell is CEO of Jumptap. 

Coming up next: The next profile will be Heath Bell.

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