Monday, August 25, 2014

#268 Derek Bell

About the Front: Seeing this extreme close-up of Derek Bell taking warmup tosses in his road grays brought to mind the time that Joe Carter played a game for the Blue Jays in a misspelled "TOROTNO" jersey. Whoops!

About the Back: In the first round of the 1987 draft, the Jays took UCLA pitcher Alex Sanchez, whose career ERA in a total of four big league games was 10.03. Double whoops!

Triple Play:

1. Bell was the victim of a memorable prank during Toronto's Fan Appreciation Day in 1992. Between innings, it was announced that the team was giving away a vehicle to one lucky fan. Much to Derek's shock and dismay, Joe Carter then drove the young outfielder's green Jeep onto the field.

2. He had a career year with the Astros in 1998, batting .314/.364/.490 with 111 runs scored, 41 doubles, 22 homers, 108 RBI, and 13 steals in 16 tries.

3. Derek's career came to an infamous end in the spring of 2002. The previous season he had batted a miserable .173/.287/.288 in 46 games with the Pirates, so the club informed him that he would have to compete for a starting role going forward. He vented to reporters on March 18, insisting that he had no desire to be judged on his spring training performance, and had never competed for a job in his MLB career. Bell stated that he would go into "Operation Shutdown". He left the team on March 29, was released two days later, and collected $4.5 million from Pittsburgh for his troubles.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I remember Bell always having heavy bags under his eyes. Did he stay out all night before games, or was that just the way he looked?

Bill James Said: "He had a trial as a third baseman, which went about as well as you would expect it to, and his position at season's end was unclear." Derek committed nine errors in 50 chances (.820 fielding %) at the hot corner, and was exclusively an outfielder for the rest of his for one ugly inning on the mound.

On This Date in 1993: August 25. Rookie catcher Brad Ausmus singles with the bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth inning for his first walkoff hit, as the Padres top the Cardinals 2-1.

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