derek Bell - US PRESSWIRE
Derek Bell turns 44 today.
It's former Blue Jay Derek Bell's 44 birthday.
Derek Bell was a 2nd round draft pick for the Blue Jays back in 1987. He moved up the Jays system pretty quickly and made it to the Jays in late June of 1991, played a few games and then was sent back down, then came back out as a September call up. He hit .143/.314/.143.
The next season Derek had the 4th outfielder role. He played in 61 games, hitting .242/.324/.354, with 2 home runs and 15 RBI. He even had 3 plate appearances and 2 walks in our playoff run to our first World Series win.
Unfortunately, we had a pretty tough lineup to break into, back in those days. We had Joe Carter, Devon White and Candy Maldonado as well as Dave Winfield playing DH. If we weren't in 'win now' mode, maybe it would have been been better to keep Derek over Candy but things worked out well.
Near the year of spring training, in 1993, the Jays traded him (and someone named Stony Briggs) to the Padres for Darrin Jackson, who was older and more established, maybe a little better defensively, to take over the 4th outfielder job. I remember not being very impressed with the trade, Jackson wasn't much of a player. I thought Bell had a lot more potential but then the point of getting Jackson wasn't to get someone to carry us, it was to get someone that wouldn't cost us games. In about bit more than 2 months, Jackson played in 46 games, hit a big .216/.250/.347.
The good thing Jackson did for us was to get us Tony Fernandez back, the Jays traded Jackson to be Mets to get Tony, to fill the hole we had a shortstop. Fernandez hit .306/.361/.442, played good defense and we won another World Series.
Bell? He played a couple of seasons with the Padres and then was traded to the Astros as part of an 11 player deal. He was an Astro for 5 seasons, then spent a season with the Mets and Pirates to end his career.
In his 11 seasons, Derek Bell hit .276/.336/.421 with 134 home runs, 668 RBI and 170 stolen bases, quite a good career. We really could have used him, in the later 90's. His best season was with the Astros in 1998 when he hit .314/.364/.490, with 22 home runs and 108 RBI, he was part of the Killer B's with Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell
There was a funny story about Fan Appreciation Day in 1992, between innings it was announced that a lucky fan would win a new car and then Joe Carter drove Derek's jeep onto the field. And there was a less than fun story about Bell being arrested for cocaine possession.
Happy birthday Derek, I hope it is a good one.