Former Bisons shortstop and longtime major leaguer Jay Bell was named the new batting coach for the Pirates today by manager Clint Hurdle.
Bell, 46, played eight of his 18 MLB seasons with the Pirates (1989-1996). He scored the winning run for Arizona in Game Seven of the 2001 World Series against the Yankees. See his career stats here, for both the majors and the minors.
Bell was an up-and-coming prospect in the Cleveland chain when he played 110 games for the Bisons as a 21-year-old in 1987, the final year at War Memorial Stadium. He batted .260 with 17 homers and 60 RBIs but also made 30 errors that year. That's his 1988 Topps card to the right.
He returned to Buffalo in 1989, the second year of then-Pilot Field, and batted .285 with 10 homers and 54 RBIs in 86 games. Of note was his defensive improvement with the Herd, making 16 errors and improving his fielding percentage from .945 to .967 before getting the call to Pittsburgh for keeps.
Bell was the starting shortstop for all three of the Pirates' NL East division championship teams (1990-92), and also played for the Royals, Diamondbacks and Mets in a career that lasted until 2003.
By my count, and with an able assist by Bisons PR director Brad Bisbing, Bell makes 29 MLB coaches for 2013 who either played or managed in Buffalo. Here is my current list of ex-Bisons connections:
Managers -- John Farrell (Boston), Eric Wedge (Seattle), Terry Collins (New York Mets), Bud Black (San Diego).
Bench coaches --- Tony Pena (New York Yankees), Torey Lovullo (Boston), Sandy Alomar Jr. (Clevelnad), Jeff Banister (Pittsburgh), Ron Wotus (San Francisco).
Batting coaches -- Lloyd McClendon (Detroit), Jeff Manto (Chicago White Sox), Steve Henderson (Philadelphia), Jay Bell (Pittsburgh).
Pitching coaches -- Carl Willis (Seattle), Dan Warthen (New York Mets), Steve McCatty (Washington), Charles Nagy (Arizona).
Third-base coaches -- Jeff Datz (Seattle), Tim Teufel (New York Mets), David Bell (Chicago Cubs).
First-base coach -- Dave Roberts (San Diego)
Bullpen coaches -- Steven Soliz (Los Angeles Angels), Jaime Navarro (Seattle), Ricky Bones (New York Mets), Reid Cornelius (Miami), Lee Tunnell (Milwaukee).
Infield coach -- Rafael Belliard (Detroit).
Role TBA -- Dave Clark (Houston).
Bullpen catcher -- Alex Andreopoulos (Toronto)