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2000 Pacific Private Stock #5 Jay Bell

Jay Stuart Bell

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[edit] Biographical Information

Shortstop Jay Bell was one of the first players signed by the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks. Since 2005, he has been a D-Backs coach.

Bell played 18 years in the big leagues, primarily as a shortstop. Signed as a first round pick by the Minnesota Twins and scout Fred Waters in the 1984 amateur draft, by 1986 he had broken into the majors with the Cleveland Indians after being traded to the Tribe along with three other young players in return for P Bert Blyleven in 1985. In 1986, Bell hit a home run in the first plate appearance of his career; the pitcher was Blyleven. At age 22 he was the starting shortstop for the 1988 Cleveland Indians.

From 1989 to 1996 he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He lasted much longer than teammates Bobby Bonilla and Barry Bonds, who left the team in 1991 and 1992, respectively. The Pirates were division winners for three consecvutive seasons, from 1990 to 1992. He was often used as the team's number two hitter, and in an unusual strategy for the time, manager Jim Leyland often asked him to bunt; as a result, he led the National League in sacrifice hits in 1990 and 1991, and finished second in 1992. When he led the league with 39 sacrifice hits in 1990, it was an unusually high total: only he and Bert Campaneris had gotten so many sacrifice hits in a season since 1930.

Bell began to show power late in his career. In 1997, in his only year with the Kansas City Royals, he hit over 20 home runs for the first time in his career (his previous high was 16 in 1991). In 1999 with the Diamondbacks, he hit 38 home runs at age 33, and drove in over 100 RBI for the only time in his career.

He was an All-Star with the Pirates in 1993, a year in which he won his only Gold Glove, and also was an All-Star with the Diamondbacks in 1999. Other than leading the league twice in sacrifice hits, he never led the league in any category, although he was second once in runs scored, third once in doubles, third once in triples, and third once in sacrifice flies. Bell was the ninth and last player to have at least 150 home runs and at least 150 sacrifice hits. The first eight all made their debuts between 1912 and 1926; Bell debuted in 1986.

Because of the power surge late in his career, the most similar players to Bell, based on the similarity scores method, are seen as Bobby Grich, Toby Harrah, and Alan Trammell. His OPS+ of 101 is lower than theirs, though.

He coached for Team USA in the 2010 Pan American Games Qualifying Tournament, 2011 Baseball World Cup and 2011 Pan American Games. In 2012, he returned to the Diamondbacks as hitting coach of the AA Mobile BayBears. In 2013, he was named hitting coach of the Pirates, then in 2014 moved to the Cincinnati Reds as bench coach for new manager Bryan Price.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 2-time NL All-Star (1993 & 1999)
  • NL Gold Glove Winner (1993)
  • NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1993)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1997-1999)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1999)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1999)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 2 (1993 & 1999)
  • Won a World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001

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