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The Indians are going to have an Albert Belle bobblehead day. And it’s glorious.

Feb 14, 2013, 6:38 AM EDT

Albert Belle bobble

Albert Belle was widely reviled when he played. He committed all manner of bad acts on and off the field and he really, really pissed off reporters. When he retired, Bill Madden wrote this:

“Sorry, there’ll be no words of sympathy here for Albert Belle. He was a surly jerk before he got hurt and now he’s a hurt surly jerk….He was no credit to the game. Belle’s boorish behavior should be remembered by every member of the Baseball Writers’ Association when it comes time to consider him for the Hall of Fame.”

It was in 2001, well before Twitter and most blogs, so not many took Madden to task for it, but I’m glad to have found it. Makes me think of Belle in a totally different light. I mean, if he got Madden so bent out of shape that he openly admitted in print that writers should punish him in the Hall of Fame voting for not being nice to them, he can’t be all bad.  Indeed, he should be honored!

Albert Belle will flex his muscles for the Indians one more time.

The club is honoring Belle, once the most menacing hitter in baseball, with a bobblehead night promotion on June 1 against Tampa Bay. The bobblehead of Belle is of him flexing his right arm and pointing at his biceps – the pose he famously struck in the 1995 playoffs against Boston. In that series, Red Sox manager Kevin Kennedy asked the umpires to check Belle’s bat, believing it was corked.

I love it. Baseball needs to embrace the bad boys more. Maybe not when they’re active — Belle really was a menace at times — but once they’re old and aren’t doing harm anymore, there’s no harm in looking back at guys like Belle while sharing a somewhat relieved and uneasy chuckle about what they were like. Instead, it’s leaning  more in favor of whitewashing history. A shame really.

Anyway: next bobblehead I want to see is Jason Grimsley crashing through the ceiling of the umpire’s locker room, trying to retrieve Belle’s corked bat.


  1. dondada10 - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:05 AM

    When I saw the headline I thought, “It would be awesome if the bobblehead were of Belle flexing.

    This may be the best thing the Indians have done all off-season.

    • dcfan4life - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:02 AM

      First thing that came to my mind was when he ran over Vina to break up a double play. To this day i still have never seen anyone knock down the second basebman to break up a double play like that even know it is a legal move.

      • mazblast - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:05 AM

        When Frank Robinson was playing, middle infielders weren’t safe unless they were two Zip Codes away from second base.

      • 4cornersfan - Feb 14, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        In the day Billy Martin would take you out at second base, both while playing the position and baserunning.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:58 AM

      ALong with Dick AllenHe’s an archetypal surly black sluggger. I had hopes for Bryce Harper to develop into a white version of that – kind of like emeinem

      • Jason @ IIATMS - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:23 AM

        Anyone want to come up with the FAIL count on that reply? I’ve got 6 before counting the racism fail.

      • Cris E - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        SWeeet!1! That’d be awwwweesome! Brice in blackface roring in and scaring the little dudes off the bass and then flexing and oh man awesiome. purnel you rowk!

      • kjericho43 - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:34 AM

        What is with all the racist and homophobic comments on here? Stupidity and ignorance is alive and well on HardballTalk.

      • Old Gator - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        I think there was a temporary time-space warp at the crossing of the known universe and the Yahoo! Blogosphere. Let’s hope they’ve moved on away from each other by now.

      • purnellmeagrejr - Feb 16, 2013 at 9:05 AM

        Sorry, guys. Racism isn’t patrt of who I am. I am not blind, however. Any mention of color seems forbiddden; just the way it is, I guess.

  2. eshine76 - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    Love the Grimsley idea… Perhaps you design it with his head and torso hanging out with a bat in a box below him. Instead of a bobblehead its a bobblearm bouncing up and down trying to reach the bat.

  3. historiophiliac - Feb 14, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    So is it the arm that bobbles?

    • historiophiliac - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      And can we get one of Old Hoss where the finger bobbles?

  4. Old Gator - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Nice to know that Belle is no longer an asshole back then. As in the final scene of Amores Perros, this only proves that redemption is possible even along the road to Hell.

  5. digbysellers - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:10 AM

    Christmas present!

  6. heyblueyoustink - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    No one broke up the double play quite like Albert!

    • Old Gator - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      Yeah, I heard he would hide in the chandelier and then suddenly drop down on both chicks when they least expected it.

      • badintent - Feb 15, 2013 at 2:33 AM

        Ha ! South Beach, check, Fire Island , check . But Cleveland ? We talking about Cleveland , the mistake by the Lake.Orges in Cleveland ?

  7. jlinatl - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    Ironically, due to HGH, many of the bad boys’ bobble heads will be accurate depictions of the their head to body size.

    Sorry… too easy.

  8. Detroit Michael - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    Just don’t call the bobblehead “Joey!”

  9. genericcommenter - Feb 14, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    It’s only around a 2 Hr drive. Maybe I will go.

  10. zzalapski - Feb 14, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    If the Indians retire his number, can they get Hannah Storm to MC the proceedings?

    • badintent - Feb 15, 2013 at 2:34 AM

      Stick a Fork in her, she’s burnt……………………….. toast.

  11. hansob - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    I would pay good money for a Nolan Ryan / Robin Ventura bobble head. I want Ventura’s head to bobble, too, and perhaps also Nolan Ryan’s right fist.

  12. deathmonkey41 - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Is it going to come with a GPS device so you can find it if you ever lose it?

  13. blantoncollier - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Wonder if his flexing arm will break a water cooler, smash some light bulbs or destroy a thermostat? Now that would be coooooool!

  14. dsmaxsucks - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    I want to see one of Chuck Knoblauch deking Lonnie Smith as he rounds second; or perhaps Ron Gant pretending Kent Hrbek is pushing him as he slips off the bag.

  15. cincyorangenblack - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    i want a Bo Jackson one of him snapping a bat over his knee…. NOW PLEASE

  16. misterchainbluelightning - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    He led spring training in HR’s one year as Joey Belle, then went on to be a monster as Albert. I drafted him based on Spring #’s that year and it worked out so much better than when I took Jake Fox years later.

  17. theonlynolan - Feb 14, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    I think I remember a game when Belle was at Fenway and throwing foul balls hit his way over the Monster. Not sure if it actually happened or not and haven’t been able to verify it with actual stories but I’m pretty sure it happened.

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