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Throwback Thursday: Albert Belle

The Cleveland Indians drafted Albert Belle in the 2nd round of the 1987 MLB June Amateur Draft. As a rookie, Belle hit .225 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs.

In 1991 Albert Belle started coming into his own; he finished the season 28 home runs and 95 RBIs. Belle made his first All-Star appearance in 1993 when he hit 38 home runs. From 1993 to 1998, he made five straight All-Star teams.

In 1995 the Cleveland made the World Series behind Belle’s 50 home runs. Also, in the 1995 season, Belle became the first player to hit 50 home runs and 50 doubles. The Indians ended up losing to the Atlanta Braves in the world series.

After hitting 48 home runs in 1996 for Indians, Belle signed a 5-year, $55 million deal with the Chicago White Sox. He was the highest-paid player for a while with that contract. Belle had two great seasons in Chicago hitting 30 home runs in 1997 and 49 home runs in 1998. Also, in 1998, he drove in 152 runs and batted .328.

Belle played just played two seasons in Chicago because of a clause in his contract that said he would have to remain a top three paid player. In 1998 he revoked the clause and became a free agent when the White Sox did not want to redo his contract.

The Baltimore Orioles gave Belle a five-year $65 million deal. In two seasons with the Orioles, Belle hit 73 home runs and batted .289. Belle played just two seasons with Baltimore because of degenerative hip osteoarthritis, so he retired. One of the funniest things happened when Belle played for the Orioles when Belle got hit by a pitch and refused to go to first base.

Over the years, Belle had his share of controversies, the corked bat incident, refusing to talk to reporters, and many other things. He was still a hell of a baseball player. From 1991 to 2000, he averaged 37 home runs and 120 RBIs and was one of only six players to have nine straight 100-RBI seasons.

Belle finished his career with 381 home runs, 389 doubles, 1,239 RBIs, 1,726, and with a batting average of .295. Also, Belle made five All-Star teams. It would have been interesting to see Belle’s numbers if hip problems did not happen.

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