All-Time Indians: Buddy Bell

Name: David Gus Bell     Position: Third Base      
Nick Name: Buddy           Number: 25        
Tribe Time: 1972-1978         DOB: 08/25/1951      
Accolades: 1973 All-Star        
Stats G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS SB% OBP SLG AVG OPS
Best Season (1973) 156 631 86 169 23 7 14 59 49 47 7 15 32% .325 .393 .268 .718
Career 987 3712 462 1016 155 27 64 386 297 332 24 48 33% .328 .382 .274 .710

Bell began his 18 year career with the Indians, starting with a good rookie year in 1972, then continuing with his only All-Star appearance as an Indian in the following season. That year, he set a career high with seven steals (this was also the year he learned he wasn't very good at stealing bases and he never attempted more than ten in a year again) and set high marks in home runs and runs scored while with the Indians. He was the Indians top hitter that year, leading a weak Indians line-up in runs, hits and triples.

Bell started as an outfielder, but was quickly converted to third, where he became a Gold Glove winning fielder. He was also one of the Indians top hitting third basemen in franchise history, making it disappointing that he played such a short period of his borderline Hall of Fame career in Cleveland. Along with Rico Carty and George Hendrick, he was among the Indians top three hitters during his career with the team. Just prior to his prime, Bell was traded to the Rangers for his replacement, Toby Harrah. While Harrah ended up having more impressive career numbers with the Indians, Bell was a superior player over his entire career.

From 1979 through 1984, Bell won every AL Gold Glove for third base and earned MVP votes in five seasons. After making the All-Star team as an Indian just once, he made it almost every year for the Rangers, missing just 1979 and 1983 during that stretch. The Rangers used him up and threw him away at the perfect time, trading him to the Reds in 1985. After then, he never batted above .285 or won a Gold Glove again.

As his career dwindled down, he played one last season in Texas, getting into 34 games, mostly as a DH. He quickly moved into the coaching ranks then, joining the Indians again in 1994 as the Infield coach. Interestingly enough, he was replaced again by Harrah in 1995. In 1996 he got his first managerial role, taking over the helm of the cellar dwelling Tigers, bringing Detroit to a 109 loss season. He managed the Tigers until 1998 when he was fired mid-season. The Rockies picked him up as manager in 2000, but he was fired again in 2002. This preceded his final appearance with the Indians, where he was Eric Wedge's bench coach from 2003-2005. He then got one final chance to manage in the Central Division, taking over the Royals. He was unable to move Kansas City out of last in the Central and retired in 2007 to spend more time with his family.

Bell's career is a little bit of a disappointment as he never went to the play-offs despite being one of the greatest defensive third basemen in the history of Major League baseball. He was also an above average manager, but was always saddled with terrible teams and upper management that wouldn't give him the support he needed. Bell does have one more source of pride as the middle generation of one of the greatest baseball families ever. His father, Gus Bell, played 15 years as a center fielder for the Reds, Pirates and Expos and ended his career with over 200 home runs and 300 doubles. After Buddy's own lengthy career, he had two sons make it to the Major Leagues in David and Mike Bell. Mike played just part of a single season for the Reds, but David played 12 seasons for six teams after being drafted by the Indians in 1990. Overall, his direct family hit 532 home runs and played in 46 seasons in Major League Baseball.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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