You Are Here > Baseball-Reference.com > Bullpen > Cool Papa Bell - BR Bullpen

Cool Papa Bell

From BR Bullpen

Jump to: navigation, search
2001 Fleer Greats of the Game #64 Cool Papa Bell
Auto-jbell.jpg

James Thomas Bell
born as James Thomas Nichols

  • Bats Both, Throws Left
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 155 lb.

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1974

BR page

[edit] Biographical Information

"One time he hit a line drive right past my ear. I turned around and saw the ball hit his ass sliding into second." - Satchel Paige about Bell

Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on February 13, 1974 by the Special Committee on the Negro Leagues.

Bell migrated from Mississippi to the St. Louis area in 1920, joining family members who had already done so, and began his baseball career in 1921 pitching for the semi-pro Compton Hill (St. Louis) Cubs, playing alongside three of his older half-brothers, Lee, Robert, and Sam. He signed with the St. Louis Stars May 3 1922 and was their top pitcher the next season, going 11-7 with a 4.53 ERA, leading the team in victories and ERA. Another half-brother, Fred Bell, pitched for the Stars in 1923.

Bell won a Triple Crown in the 1940 Mexican League. His .437 led the league by 73 points ahead of fellow Hall of Famer Martin Dihigo and his 12 homers edged Ted Strong and Josh Gibson by one (though Gibson did not play the whole year in Mexico). Bell also led the league in OBP, slugging (by 65 points over Strong), runs (24 more than Willie Wells) and triples and finished one behind Wells and Wild Bill Wright in doubles. Amazingly, the speedster was only 3rd in steals, behind Sammy Bankhead and Wright.

Bell's batting hand changed over time. It appears that he was a righty hitter when he first came up with St. Louis. In 1924, Manager Big Bill Gatewood taught him to switch-hit, making him a far more valuable offensive player. The Mexican League encyclopedia lists him as a lefty, so he may have stopped being a switch-hitter late in his career.

[edit] Negro Leagues Career Statistics

Year Team League G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB BA SLG
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1922 St. Louis Stars NNL 18 40 6 15 3 1 1 5 0 0 .375 .575
1923 St. Louis Stars NNL 49 108 24 26 5 1 2 17 1 7 .241 .361
1924 St. Louis Stars NNL 59 223 42 65 13 2 0 33 9 17 .291 .368
1925 St. Louis Stars NNL 70 310 59 99 19 3 7 16 4 25 .319 .468
1926 St. Louis Stars NNL 55 238 59 80 14 4 7 16 4 25 .336 .517
1927 St. Louis Stars NNL 65 273 51 86 14 2 3 12 12 23 .315 .414
1928 St. Louis Stars NNL 82 349 84 115 20 7 5 18 16 34 .330 .470
1929 Chicago American Giants
St. Louis Stars
NNL
NNL
4
60
17
244
3
52
3
71
0
13
0
5
0
1
1
1
0
18
1
27
.176
.291
.176
398
1930 St. Louis Stars NNL 40 179 46 62 8 2 4 11 5 15 .346 .480
1931 St. Louis Stars NNL 10 38 6 8 2 0 0 0 9 5 .211 .263
1932 Detroit Wolves
Homestead Grays
Kansas City Monarchs
EWL
independent
independent
21
12
14
86
46
53
19
12
14
28
16
21
3
3
4
0
1
5
0
0
0
8
0
3
7
1
3
6
6
10
.326
.348
.396
.360
.457
.660
1933 Pittsburgh Crawfords NNL 40 165 33 48 5 3 1 24 8 16 .291 .357
1934 Pittsburgh Crawfords NNL 52 210 42 64 6 1 1 5 12 25 .305 .357
1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords NNL 40 170 46 53 3 5 2 10 7 20 .312 .424
1936 Pittsburgh Crawfords NNL 22 92 23 29 4 2 0 1 1 7 .315 .402
1937 Pittsburgh Crawfords
Trujillo All-Stars
NNL
independent
5
2
21
7
4
2
7
4
1
0
0
0
2
0
2
0
0
0
2
2
.333
.571
.667
.571
1938-1941 did not play
1942 Chicago American Giants NAL 20 72 10 23 2 1 0 3 0 8 .319 .375
1943 Homestead Grays NNL 49 204 39 68 6 5 0 17 10 20 .333 .412
1944 Homestead Grays NNL 37 152 27 46 6 3 0 19 4 17 .303 .382
1945 Homestead Grays NNL 18 67 14 24 2 0 0 6 0 12 .358 .388
1946 Homestead Grays NNL 27 88 20 35 2 1 0 11 4 7 .398 .443
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Total 21 seasons 871 3452 737 1096 158 54 36 239 144 336 .317 .426
per 162 games 5.38 162 642 137 204 29 10 7 44 27 82

Sources: Seamheads.com, Gary Ashwill and Kevin Johnson: 1922 Shades of Glory, Hogan et al., ppg. 382-383: 1923-1946

[edit] Related Sites

Personal tools