Being Thrift with mounting debt and wringing the Belle with an insurance policy

August 16, 2017 | Nestor Aparicio

as a major league baseball player” and “Belle has agreed that he is physically incapable of performing as a player and concurs with the findings of the doctors.”

At age 34, Albert Belle retired to a life of golf and counting his money in Tucson, Arizona. Years later, Belle said: “I tried to work things out with the owner in Baltimore where I would gradually play myself into shape in spring training. He was really pushing me to get out there and play and I wasn’t ready. After I played a couple intrasquad games before the spring training games started, my legs were just hurting so bad and I just never recovered. Obviously, I was mad at the owner of the Orioles, because I think he’s an idiot anyway. I never made it out of spring training, so I was upset about that for a while because I wanted to end on my terms but it didn’t work out that way.”

Albert Belle homered in his final at bat of the 2000 season. In the end, it was his symbolic middle finger that was intended for everyone associated with Major League Baseball. He collected $65 million for playing two miserable seasons with the Orioles. He proved to everyone what a mistake Angelos made in signing him to begin with over the voices of everyone in the organization at the time.

It was a recurring theme by now for Angelos. Players he promised millions of dollars to didn’t – in his eyes – earn their money. And as an old-world business owner, he felt that he was responsible for mitigating losses with players who were by their very nature prone to career-altering injuries to their bodies, which were deteriorating every day and he had no ability to buy depreciation insurance on most of them and it would be too costly if he did.

The Belle drama worked itself out, mostly in the Orioles favor with the insurance money. The vision of one of his key employees bailed him out of nearly $30 million in real money.

But it would never happen again.

Angelos would become known throughout baseball as the owner who had his own doctors looking for any nuance in a medical report that would allow him to void