No. 11 Negro Leagues Cool Papa Bell

I saw a lot of people write that Bell was a poor hitter, but his stats don’t show this. He had a lifetime OPS+ of 126, which solid for a guy who played to age 43. He led his league in runs scored 5 times. He scored 100 runs twice in his career and that was in the shortened season. I would like him as my leadoff man.

One of the things Bell did well as a leadoff man was walking. He led the league in walks three times. He also hit .324 lifetime and had an on base average of .395. All that he was know for being fast. He also led his league in stolen bases 8 times, including at age 42. Satchel Paige use to tell a story about Bell turning off the light and getting in bed before the light went out. Bell said this was because he knew there was a short in the light and he showed it to Paige so he would tell the story.

I believe this story. I stayed in a lot of hotels in my life, and I had a few lights like that.  I think Paige figured out the short, but he wasn’t let science get in the way of a good story. Bell’s confession took the story to a new level.

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