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 3 home runs on opening day of 1988 – the first player to ever do so.

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.”

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

Image credits: Toronto Star file photos

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