#WNSTSweet16 Orioles Who Didn’t Live Up To The Hype

February 25, 2014 | Luke Jones

8. Juan Bell

It wasn’t enough that Bell’s older brother George was an established major league slugger and that the middle infielder failed miserably in the big leagues, but he was the centerpiece of a lousy return for future Hall of Fame first baseman Eddie Murray, who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers following the 1988 season.

After initially toying with the idea of moving Ripken from shortstop to third and making room for Bell in 1989, the Orioles began to see that the Dominican infielder hadn’t a clue at the plate and was erratic in the field despite what was considered an encouraging pedigree in the minors that included a .285 average at Rochester in 1990. Bell hit .167 with 53 strikeouts in 229 plate appearances over three seasons — most of those chances coming in 1991 — with the Orioles and never showed flashes of ability beyond a decent spring training in 1991.

In fairness, Bell was going to have a tough time fulfilling the lofty expectations after being the main piece to come over with pitchers Brian Holton and Ken Howell in exchange for one of the greatest players in franchise history, but he simply reeked of awfulness on the field and fans wouldn’t let him forget it in his brief time with Baltimore. And the only remedy that eased the pain was Murray eventually returning to the Orioles in 1996 to hit his 500th home run, a year after Bell had played his last game in the majors.



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