Monday, October 5, 2015

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #175 GEORGE BELL

HAD ONE HELLUVA OPENING DAY IN '88.




SUPERIOR AT-BAT COMPARED TO IN THE FIELD.




DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • George Bell was the big bopper in what was arguably the best outfield of the mid-1980s. With Bell in left, Lloyd Moseby in center and Jesse Barfield in right, the Blue Jays quickly became a force in the AL East. And it was Bell who brought the thunder -- at the expense of the leather and cap fashion sense -- six times hitting 20 or more homers during his nine-year tenure. While he often played the outfield with the attention span of a 4-year-old, he had his career-season in '87, winning the AL MVP after slugging 47 homers and driving in an AL-leading 134 runs. In his 12-year career, he averaged 27 homers and 102 RBI, slashing .278/.316/.469.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • As the reining AL MVP, Bell kicked off the '88 season with a bang. He became the first player to homer three times on Opening Day on April 4. He hit them all off #53 Bret Saberhagen, going 3-for-4 with four RBI in the Blue Jays' 5-3 victory.

DEFINING SEASON

  • Bell's '87 season capped a productive four-year stretch in which he averaged 33 homers and 106 RBI. In '87, he slashed .308/.352/.605, edging #18 Alan Trammell for the MVP.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Taken from the Phillies by the Blue Jays in the '80 Rule 5 draft. Another astute personnel move by the Toronto franchise in the '80s.
  2. Bell began having public disagreements in '88 with Manager Jimy Williams, who wanted to make him the full-time DH because of those defensive inadequacies. 
  3. Became a free agent after the '90 season and signed with the Cubs, where he played only one season (25 HRs/86 RBI) before being traded to the White Sox in the deal that brought #79 Sammy Sosa to the North Side.
  4. Bell played his final two seasons with the White Sox and retired in '93.
  5. Hit a game-winning homer in the final game at Exhibition Stadium in May '89.

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