Thursday, February 18, 2010

1976 Topps #358 - Buddy Bell

  • Buddy Bell has had a long career as a player and as a manager. His father (Gus Bell) played in the majors as did two of his sons (David and Mike). Buddy was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1969. He played in the minors from 1969-1971 and then made the Cleveland club at the age of 20 in 1972. Bell spent most of the season playing right field (they had some guy named Graig Nettles at third base) and batted .255 with 9 HR and 36 RBI in 132 games.

  • Bell moved to third base in 1973 and had a good sophomore year. He made the AL All Star team and tripled in a pinch-hitting appearance. Buddy batted .268 with 14 HR and 59 RBI. He had a tough time on the basepaths -- he stole 7 bases and was caught 15 times.

  • Bell batted .262 with 7 HR and 46 RBI in 116 games in 1974. He missed about three weeks in May/June and another three weeks in August with injuries. In 1975 he batted .271 with 10 HR and 59 RBI in 153 games. Buddy batted .281 with 7 HR and 60 RBI in 1976. Bell suffered from seizures during the early part of his career and decided to seek medical help after falling out of a golf cart and breaking his nose in 1976. It was originally thought that he might have a brain tumor, but it was found that he suffered from epilepsy. He started taking epilepsy medication and he hasn't had problems since.

  • Buddy was injured again in 1977 and missed the last 3 1/2 weeks of the season. He batted .292 with 11 HR and 64 RBI in 129 games. Bell batted .282 with 6 HR and 62 RBI in 1978. After the 1978 season Bell was traded to the Texas Rangers for Toby Harrah.

  • Bell hit his peak with the Rangers. He won six straight Gold Gloves (1979-1984) and earned at least some MVP consideration in each of those seasons. In 1979 Bell batted .299 with 18 HR and 101 RBI. He also had 200 hits that season and hit a career-high 42 doubles.

  • In 1980 Bell batted .329 with 17 HR and 83 RBI. He made the AL All Star team that year and was 0 for 2. Buddy missed three weeks in June with an injury. Why Doesn't Buddy Bell Get More Recognition? - January 1981 Baseball Digest.

  • Buddy batted .294 with 10 HR and 64 RBI in 97 games in 1981. He was an All Star and was 0 for 1 with a sacrifice fly. In 1982 Bell was an All Star again (0 for 3 with two strikeouts) and batted .296 with 13 HR and 67 RBI. Winning, Top Baseball Priority for Buddy Bell - February 1982 Baseball Digest.

  • In 1983 Bell batted .277 with 14 HR and 67 RBI. He played in his last full season for the Rangers in 1984. Buddy made his last All Star team (0 for 1) and won the Silver Slugger Award at third base. He batted .315 with 11 HR and 83 RBI.

  • Bell started poorly with the Rangers (.236, 4 HR, 32 RBI in 84 games) in 1985 and was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Duane Walker and Jeff Russell on July 19. He didn't do very well for the Reds either (.219 with 6 HR and 36 RBI in 67 games). Buddy did much better in 1986, batting .278 with 20 HR and 75 RBI.

  • The 1987 season was Buddy's last season as a regular. He batted .284 with 17 HR and 70 RBI. In 1988 he started slowly (.185 in 54 at bats) and he was traded to the Houston Astros for a minor leaguer on June 19. Buddy batted .253 with 7 HR and 37 RBI for the Astros and was released after the season. Buddy received the 1988 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. Bell signed with the Rangers for the 1989 season but retired after batting .183 in 82 at bats (his last game was June 17). Buddy Bell: A Class Performer at Third Base Bows Out - October 1989 Baseball Digest

  • After his playing career Bell worked as a coach for the Reds and Indians. Bell managed the Detroit Tigers for 2 1/2 years (1996-1998), the Colorado Rockies for 2 seasons and one month (2000-2002), and the Kansas City Royals for 2 1/2 years (2005-2007). In between his Colorado and Kansas City tenures he worked as a coach for the Indians. Buddy dealt with tonsil cancer at the end of the 2006 season and resigned as the Royal manager after the 2007 season to spend more time with his family.

  • Liked to face: Roger Erickson (.474 in 38 AB); Mike Caldwell (.447 in 47 AB); LaMarr Hoyt (.432 in 37 AB).
  • Hated to face: Dave Frost (.045 in 22 AB); Fernando Valenzuela (.100 in 30 AB); Luis Leal (.118 in 34 AB)

1 comment:

  1. As a little kid I went to a Texas Rangers game when Buddy was with them, and this other kid had a Gus Bell model baseball glove that he wanted Buddy to sign. Since it was a Gus Bell glove Buddy went ahead and traded the kid his glove for the Gus Bell model. I thought that was so cool that he did that. Great memories of Buddy as a Ranger.