HOF ’09: Jay Bell


Jay Bell had an auspicious if not ironic start in the majors.  Like Harold Baines, he was drafted in the first round.  The Minnesota Twins turned around and traded him the next year in 1985 to Cleveland for Bert Blyleven (who turns out to be a fellow HOF ’09 candidate).  Bell’s very first at-bat was against Blyleven and he hit it for a home run.  To add more drama to the scenario, that home run was the 47th given up by Blyleven that year which broke the MLB record of 46 allowed by Robin Roberts. 

Bell Facts
  • Drafted First round in 1984 by the Minnesota Twins
  • Played for Cle, Pit, KC, Ari and NYM (1986-2003)
  • Two time All-Star, won one Gold Glove
  • 1999 best offensive year (.289, 38 HR, 112 rbis)


  Bell didn’t get much playing time with the Indians though and it wasn’t till he got traded to Pittsburgh that he got some serious at-bats in.  With the exception of ’94-’95, Bell played 150 games from 1990-1999.  He was a solid fielder not so much because of his range but of his knowledge of the hitters. 

jabell With the stick, Bell was mostly a singles and doubles hitter though he toyed with the four-base hit later in his career.  As the Pirates are wont to do, they dumped a player once he came into his own.  When Bell was traded to the Royals, he had a decent offensive year with 21 homers and 92 rbis.  That made him a valuable free agent and the Arizona Diamondbacks took advantage of his availability. 

With Arizona, he had his best offensive year of his career in 1999.  Batting .289, he rapped 38 dingers to go along with his 112 rbis.  Two years later, he helped Arizona in their bid to win the World Series.

Pros:  A “solid” (sorry, that’s the best I can say) hitter for a middle infielder, he did accumulate 1123 career runs, a decent OBP (.343) again for a middle infielder.

Cons:  where do I start?  the stats don’t bear out.  a .265 batting average, he’s a middle infielder without the speed and not much power.


  Hall of Fame

Hall of Very Good

Why is he even on the Ballot?


While we wait for January 12 ballot results, The Baseball Zealot will be profiling those players who are on the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.  Read the rest the of the profiles.  

One Response to “HOF ’09: Jay Bell”

  1. In APBA I once traded Jay Bell for David Bell, or was it the other way around? We then swapped them back to their original ballclubs, all this before the season started. Don’t ask me to explain it, no alcohol was not involved.

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