Louisville native Gus Bell broke into the majors with the Pirates in 1950. He showed a lot of promise with the Bucs his first two season but his numbers went south in 1952. The Pirates dealt him to the Reds after that season but they lived to regret giving up on the slugging outfielder.
For the next five years Bell, played at an All Star level, never hitting below .290 with 121 homers. He made four All Star teams and had three seasons of 100+ RBI. As the back of his '59 card states 1958 was an 'off' year for Gus Bell and true to Topps' prediction he rebounded nicely in '59. He hit .293 with a career high 115 RBIs.
Bells production slid from that point and the Reds let him be drafted by the expansion Mets for 1962. He played rightfield in the franchises' first game and got the teams' first hit, a 2nd inning Opening Day single. After a partial season for the Mets, Bell was traded to Milwaukee where he finished his career a couple of years later.
Bell died in 1995 but left behind a legacy. His son Buddy Bell had a long major league career including All Star selections and Gold Gloves. He also managed nine seasons for three clubs. Buddy Bell's sons David and Mike were major league infielders in the last decade.
Bell had one post-season shot. He pinch hit three times in the 1961 World series against the Yankees. It's also notable that he was one of the seven Reds to be elected as All Star starters by fans in 1957 as part of a ballot 'stuffing' campaign. Ford Frick, baseball's commissioner, removed most of them from the team but Bell was chosen to play by Walt Alston and he had a two run double.
A black framed Reds card. Always a treat, Especially one in the kind of shape this one is in.
Here are a few other Gus Bell pics and cards including the absolutely terrific 1960 Gus Bell. How can you not love this card?
Gus Bell appeared along with fellow Reds sluggers Wally Post and Ted Kluszewski on a 1956 Sports Illustrated cover.
Here are the '76 and '85 Topps Father and Son with Gus and Buddy Bell:
Check out the smile on Buddy's face in this next one. Looks familiar, yes?