PrintPrint © 2004 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

Where have you gone, Buddy Bell?
08/07/2002 1:29 PM ET
ARLINGTON, Texas -- These days some people know David Gus as the special minor league consultant for the Cleveland Indians.

Others know him as the onetime manager of the Tigers and more recently, the Rockies.

To his three sons, two of which are playing in the big leagues, he's simply Dad.

But to every Texan who remembers him wearing No. 25 and sporting that seemingly magical glove of his, he's your pal and your favorite Rangers third baseman of all time.

He's former All-Star Buddy Bell.

"I loved playing in Texas, it was great," said Bell, who has a home in Colorado but is considering a move back to Texas. "The time I spent in Arlington was a lot of fun. It's hot, but I don't mind the heat because you can cool down quickly if you have to."

With Texas, Bell, 50, was a five-time All-Star and won Gold Gloves from 1979 to 1984. Starting in 1972, he spent his first seven years in the big leagues with the Indians and the next six and a half with the Rangers. He put up his best offensive numbers in '79, his first year in Arlington. Bell batted .299 with 18 home runs, 42 doubles, 101 RBIs and 200 hits, the latter three numbers career highs. He followed that season with a career-best .329 average in 1980.

He then spent three and a half seasons in the National League with the Reds and Astros before returning to the Rangers and retiring in 1989.

"I work about one week a month so this is really my first summer off in a long time," he said. "I'm really enjoying it. I don't know what I want to do long term, but I better make that decision quick."

As a manager Bell was 339-446 during three seasons in Detroit and two at Colorado. The Rockies dismissed him in April after a 6-16 start; talking about his experience in Colorado is not one of Bell's favorite topics.

"In some ways it has been [tough] as a manager, but for the most part I really enjoyed it," he said. "Everybody talks about how stressful it is. I don't see it being as stressful as being a player. The player has the toughest job."

A return as a big-league manager is something Bell aspires to do. He's just not going to break his back trying to do it. He calls his time as a skipper a learning experience and will only make the move if the situation fits. He said everything did not always fit in his most recent managing job.

"This is really my first summer off in a long time. I'm really enjoying it. ... I kind of just try to follow my sons more than anything else. I'm trying like heck to get around and see them play."

-- Buddy Bell

"Yes, I want to manage again," he said. "I like being around the players, I never had any problems with the players. I have to wait and see. I'm not in any rush. I'm not obsessed with it."

For now, Bell works with the Indians but feels fortunate that he also has free time to spend with his family.

"I kind of just try to follow my sons more than anything else," he said. "I have a boy playing in [Las] Vegas for the Dodgers. David is playing for the Giants. Michael is playing for the Rockies. I'm trying like heck to get around and see them play."

Bell was in Arlington last week as part of the Rangers' 30th anniversary in Texas, and he saw a few old friends when he scanned the field. He played with bench coach Terry Francona during his Reds years and also played with Rafael Palmeiro in 1989. Jim Sundberg, who currently works with the Rangers' minor league catchers and in community development, is one of Bell's closest and oldest friends.

"To me, Jim Sundberg was the best player I ever played with," Bell said. "Looking back on it, I wish I would have told him that when we were playing. You look back on things like that and realize what really great players they were."

Buddy was one of the greats, too. The loud ovation he received from the crowd when he threw out the first pitch last week at The Ballpark in Arlington proved it.

Jesse Sanchez covers the Rangers for He can be contacted via e-mail at story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers Homepage   |