Belle Back with the Tribe
It was like 1995 all over again.
That is if you ignore the added pounds, and the salt and pepper hair.
Indians’ slugger Albert Belle was in Indians camp in Goodyear, Arizona, catching up with his former teammates.
Belle joked with Carlos Baerga and Kenny Lofton, both in camp as spring training instructors.
Former Manager Mike Hargrove was there, as was current Indians coach Sandy Alomar, Jr. It brought back memories of the first team to make it to the World Series in 1995, after a 41 year drought.
That ’95 team with virtually an All Star at every position couldn’t get the job done against the Atlanta Braves.
The city is still waiting for a title.
Belle left the Tribe via free agency and there appeared to be a rift between the slugger and the team.
Belle said on Tuesday he felt no ill will toward the team and was happy to be around them once again.
He said he is a Mr. Mom to his four young daughters and while he enjoys swinging a golf club, he has not picked up a baseball bat since he retired 11 years ago.
“I wanted to see the guys. It’s good to see everybody,” said Belle.
When he was on his game, Belle was the most feared hitter in the game, and if not for a hip injury that robbed him of power and playing time, its possible Belle could have put up enough numbers to warrant consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Belle said it took some time away from the game, when the sting of not being able to play again faded somewhat.
He said he does watch a “few” games from his home in Scottsdale, Arizona.
As for the alleged problem between Belle and the Indians organization, “I thought the fences were already mended,” he said.
Indians fans can sit back and wonder what would have happened if Belle did not leave via free agency and if the home run happy lineup was intact for a few more years.
A few titles perhaps?
Definitely enough baseballs launched at the bleachers at then-Jacobs Field.