Former Ranger Buddy Bell announced he will be stepping down after this season, as I am sure you all know.
Over at Royals Review I mentioned Buddy in the context of the 1989 Rangers, probably my favorite baseball team as a child. In my memory, Buddy absolutely killed the Rangers in the early part of that season, especially May, when they fell back to earth after a 17-5 April:As I thought about Bell tonight, it occurred to me that Buddy Bell was the first baseball player I hated seeing in the lineup. Growing up in Graham, Texas, my first baseball love was the late-80s Texas Rangers. In 1989 the Rangers brought in Buddy Bell for what would become his final season. In my memory he was ancient, but looking back his stats he was "only" 37. Nevertheless, he had absolutely nothing left, hitting .183/.247/.232 in 89 plate appearances. That doesn't sound like much, but from the end of April through Jun 17th Bobby Valentine played Buddy just about every day at third base. The Rangers went 17-5 in April that year, and spent most of May and June as a relevant team in the old AL West. Still, their worst month of the season was a 10-17 May. During that month Buddy played in 19 games and hit .152/.235/.196, which was absolutely killer.
In my young mind, it was criminally stupid that the Rangers were wasting good at bats with Buddy Bell. At bats that could more properly be utilized with some combination of Steve Buechele, Jeff Kunkel, Scott Coolbaugh (Mike's brother) and Mike Stanley. In hindsight this is both inaccurate and embarrassing: the best of the bunch, Buechele, was actually finding his way into the lineup in a myriad of ways, and while Mike Stanley had his moments (187 career HRs and a lifetime .458 SLG while being nominally capable of catching) it wasn't as if George Brett was losing playing time.
Looking at Bell's game log Valentine was actually playing him mostly as a DH... My question is, who was this mostly in place of? Who could have been playing DH during those games? Sammy?
Anyway, 1989... the way we were... I cried when Ruben didn't win MVP.