Five Fun Facts About Jay Bell

The five fun facts series goes old-school in this entry, with...

Five Fun Facts About Jay Bell

1. Bell only spent one season with the Royals, coming to Kansas City on December 13, 1996 in a trade that sent Jeff Granger, Joe Randa, Jeff Wallace and Jeff Martin to Pittsburgh. The Royals got Bell and Jeff King. Its hard to say who "won" that trade: the Pirates got younger, but not better with all those young Royal prospect-types, while King and Bell produced mixed results that ultimately did nothing for the Royals either. King managed to hit 28 homers in his first season with the Royals (2nd on the team to Chili Davis) a number only rarely bested in Royals history. Still, King was out of baseball within three years... There's something chilling about thinking about an old trade like this; it disrupted the lives of a few familes, was probably vaguely interesting at the time and greeted as a sign of future progress, only nothing really became of it and it was utterly forgettable.

2. However, in that one season in KC, Bell hit .291/.368/.461 with 21 HRs, 28 doubles and 3 triples. Thats nice production for a guy who played in 149 games as a short stop. It also represented a nice bounceback season for Bell, who had struggled in both '96 and '95 and was merely average in '94.

3. In 1999 Jay Bell hit 38 homers for the D'Backs. His previous career-high was the aforementioned 21 with the '97 Royals.

4. In 30 postseason games with the Pirates ('90, '91, '92), D'Backs ('99, '01) Bell hit .262/.328/.402 with 3 HRs. In the 1991 Pirates-Braves series (not the Sid Bream/Fransisco Cabrera one) Bell had a truly bizarre postseason: he struck out 10 times, walked none, but managed to get 10 singles and 2 doubles out of the series. So, he went 12 for 29 and 10 of the 17 outs he made were at the plate. Against the Braves in 1992, he struck out only 3 times, but also managed only 5 hits and 3 walks. In the epic game 7 of that series Bell had a double, a walk, and a run-scored. Of course, the Braves scored 3 runs in the 9th to beat the Pirates, who haven't made the playoffs since. Or had a winning season.

5. Bell had a strange, but somewhat typical career, increasing his walks and power with age. After a boring three-season stint with the Indians, Bell was a key asset to the late 80s/early 90s Pirates team, often hitting 3rd in a lineup that also featured Barry Bonds, Bobbby Bonilla and Andy Van Slyke. His late in life renaissance with the D'Backs was ohh so D'Backian, but somehow always left me feeling strange, since most of those old Pirates were non-factors in the game by the late-90s. Well, Bonds excepted, of course.

Ugh. Those weren't so much "facts" as "assorted thoughts". Still, Bell's 1997 with the Royals helped the Boone and Muser led boys to a 67-94 record, which at the time was the worst Royals season in 27 years... Sadly, that mark of horribleness would be topped multiple times.

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