A Memorable Toronto Blue Jays Opening Day

George Bell

During Spring Training in 1988, then-Blue Jays Manager Jimy Williams announced that left-fielder George Bell would be the full time DH, both to save his knees and to improve the defense. The reigning MVP resisted the role-change and channeled his anger into three home runs on opening day of 1988 – the first player to ever do so.

Royals starter Brett Saberhagen wore all three of Bell’s home runs that day; it was the only time during Bell’s career that he hit three home runs in a single game.

Bell’s career ended in Chicago with the White Sox, ironically against the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 ALCS.

During his team’s ALCS appearance against the Blue Jays, Bell brought back bad memories of his earlier outbursts in Toronto by slamming manager Gene Lamont. Ironically, this time Bell was annoyed because he wasn’t DHing. Instead, the once-feared slugger had been benched. “I don’t respect Gene Lamont as a manager or as a man,” Bell asserted after being shunted from the Game Three lineup in favor of Bo Jackson. “Geno was in that Triple-A league [the NL] when I had my best years so he doesn’t really know what I can do.”

The highlight of Bell’s White Sox career was undoubtedly the game in which he was speared by first-baseman Mo Vaughn:

Following the ALCS loss to the Blue Jays, Bell was released by the White Sox.  The Blue Jays went on to win their second World Series.

These days, Bell can be found at the Bobby Mattick complex in Dunedin as a guest instructor for the Blue Jays during spring training.

JorgeBell
Photo credit: Eddie Michels

George Bell
Photo credit: Craig Robertson, QMI Agency

Featured image photo credit: Toronto Star file photos

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