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Albert Belle does not sound like he’s mellowed with age

Apr 11, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

Albert Belle

Albert Belle was probably the crankiest and sometimes meanest S.O.B. in the game back in his day. He’s not mellowed with age, as his interview with CSNChicago’s Chuck Garfien reveals. Highlights:

  • On his corked bat in 1994 – “I know Bobby Brown was [out to get me] because me and him had a few run-ins before as the American League president, so it was kind of his chance to get back at me, so he did.”
  • On steroids allegations – “What people don’t remember about Albert Belle is, Albert Bell was living in a glass house. I’m sure if Albert Belle was doing steroids, somebody would have reported me a long time ago.”
  • On losing the MVP to Mo Vaughn in 1995 – “If you ask every reporter who voted, they knew they should have been voting for me. It should have been the greatest landslide in MVP history. Just because some of them didn’t like me … they didn’t vote for me.”

 

 

He’s absolutely right on 1995. He’s full of crap on the corked bat. I don’t know what he did steroids-wise, but if your best defense is “well, someone would have said something already, yes?” you’re not exactly offering a full-throated denial.

Guy was a horse’s ass back in the day and he’s in at least some amount of denial now. Still a hell of a ballplayer, though, so I kinda don’t care as long as he’s not committing felonies.

  1. Glenn - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    He was an even bigger jerk when he was Joey Belle.

  2. number42is1 - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    The biggest take away from this is that Mo Vaugn won the MVP…..

    • joshfrancis50 - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      How Many Altuves is/was Mo Vaughn? Like, 8 Altuves?

      • mattintoledo - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        I thought Altuves were a measure of length, not mass.

      • Gamera the Brave - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:49 PM

        Actually, Belle was not all that big a guy – per Baseball-Reference.com, he’s only 1.0896 Smoots…

      • joshfrancis50 - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:54 PM

        You’re not wrong, Matt, but I prefer not to limit the application of the Altuve.

  3. silversun60 - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    I like on the steroid allegation how he goes back and forth from referring to himself in the third person. Silversun60 approves.

    • APBA Guy - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:44 PM

      Rickey Henderson approves also.

      • bigharold - Apr 11, 2013 at 6:23 PM

        That You Rickey?

      • sabatimus - Apr 11, 2013 at 10:08 PM

        Wade Boggs is always gonna be Wade Boggs.

    • badintent - Apr 11, 2013 at 6:02 PM

      He was 185 in college, then jacks to 235 in MLB. All roids. Hip issue retired him. Hip issue dogging ARodless. Frank Howard at6′ 8″, 285 would have pick him up and piledrived him into the plate face first.

  4. rollinghighwayblues - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    I can’t get enough of athletes and their absolute love for referring to themselves in third person.

  5. cur68 - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    He’s a Baseball BadGuy. Not a Real Life Bad Guy. And yeah, MVP, 1995. Meaningless popularity contest that it is.

    • chacochicken - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      I don’t think baseball has enough villains anymore.

      • El Bravo - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        Join the Nick Swisher Hater club. It’s a fun time all around and who is easier to hate than that nozzle of the douche?

      • chacochicken - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        I’m really ambivalent toward Nick. I can see him being a bit annoying from time to time but hardly a villain. Delmon Young is too much of a dumbass to be a real villain. I guess I can still yell profanities at A.J. Pierzynski from time to time.

      • cur68 - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        Jorge Soler clearly wants to be The Cuban Assassin.

      • oldpaddy - Apr 11, 2013 at 7:07 PM

        I have my fingers crossed that Aceves pitches well and becomes a super villain!

    • djammer - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      Wrong. Very, very wrong. Albert Belle tried to run over a bunch of trick or treaters with a car in his yard. That’s a Real Life Bad Guy.

      • cur68 - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        Well then there’s been a serious miscarriage of justice. That’s attempted murder. Of Children, yet. Usually you get locked up and your face in the paper and all over the news and the media never let you forget it. Somehow you’ve kept this horrifying incident to yourself and the major media has overlooked it. That’s…curious.

      • js20011041 - Apr 11, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        That was a pretty well reported incident back in the 90’s. Google it. I don’t know how much he was actually trying to “run over” the kids as much as he was trying to scare them, but that still doesn’t make it right.

    • takemytalentstosoutheuclid - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:12 PM

      He was a real life bad guy too. I remember when he played for the Tribe, he chased some kids with his car for egging his condo on Halloween. Still, as a hitter, he was really exceptional. Hit for power and average, hit 50 hrs and 50 doubles in 1995, and he’s right. He should have been the MVP.

  6. cocheese000 - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Which baseball player would you least want to fight? Mine has always been Albert belle. Guy could whip anyone in the history of the game.

    • El Bravo - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      Randy Johnson with a baseball in his hand.

      • sumerduckman - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:28 AM

        Bob Gibson, with or without a ball in his hand.

    • jm91rs - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      Id go with Bo Jackson. There is video of that Nolan Ryan robin Ventura fight and you can see Bo and frank Thomas just throwing people off the pile. No one wants a part of a guy like Bo, solid muscle, crazy fast.

      • cocheese000 - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        Can’t believe i forgot about bo. He has the strength plus crazy speed.

      • jerze2387 - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        But Bo doesnt seem mean enough to actually beat the daylights out of somebody. Its not just strength and ability, its also the will to use it.

      • jm91rs - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        I think he would just smile as he absorbed your punches. Then when you got tired he would break you over his knee like a bat.

    • jwbiii - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      • jm91rs - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:01 PM

        Farnsworth was a scrappy dude. He tried to claw Wilson’s eyes out there. Wilson didnt’ exactly handle that right though. If you’re gonna go, you go. Don’t stop at the last second and let Farnsworth get the leverage.

      • Kevin Gillman - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        I loved that Goldberg spear Kyle Farnsworth gave Wilson. FEAR THE SPEAR!!

      • cur68 - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        Claw? We call “haymaker to the head” very different things. Farnsy handled his bidness. Anyhow, same out come no matter who went first unless Wilson used the bat. Farnsy CLEARY is used to fighting and knows how to do it. He smothered Wilson. That’s how big guys fight if they know what they’re doing.

      • stlouis1baseball - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        If my memory is serving me correctly…Kyle Farnsworth is also a black belt.
        Dumb…dumb move Paul Wilson. I think this was the 1st and last time someone charged the mound on Kyle Farnsworth.

    • heyblueyoustink - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      Probably someone from the old days, who were in either world war or previous. you know there was a stone cold super soldier asassin in there somewhere.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        Or Ty Cobb?

      • jm91rs - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:15 PM

        I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Ty Cobb carried a knife with him on the field.

      • heyblueyoustink - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        That’s what I mean. none of these ” hold me back, hold me back” kind of clowns.

        And no, it would not suprise me if Cobb carried a shank onto the field.

    • djammer - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      Ty Cobb or Pete Rose.

      • abaird2012 - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:23 AM

        Ty Cobb on steroids!

    • js20011041 - Apr 11, 2013 at 5:04 PM

      I don’t know that he would be one of my most feared guys, but I think a guy like Brett Lawrie would just go nuts in a brawl. He plays the game with such intensity, I don’t think I’d want to go up against him. Of course, he got hurt this spring and we were deprived of seeing him go insane against Mexico. It’s one of life’s great disapointments.

    • oldpaddy - Apr 11, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      I bet Mo Vaughn could’ve held his ground against Belle.

  7. xmatt0926x - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    The best was his forearm shiver to Fernando Vina on his way to 2nd base. Yeah, no anger issues there. Just a “old-school” baseball play. He’s good people!

  8. jessethegreat - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Joey!

  9. vallewho - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Elbow to Viña. Yeah. MVP!

  10. runteddyrun - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Didn’t he chase after some kids in his car on Halloween one year because they egged his car, and he actually ran into one of them???

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      Yeah…I seem to remember that as well Teddy. Didn’t Manny Ramirez do so also?
      Maybe I am confusing Manny with physically assaulting the old dude in the Clubhouse.

      • oldpaddy - Apr 11, 2013 at 7:31 PM

        I don’t think Manny chased any kids, but he did throw down the sox travel Secretary because he couldn’t get manny enough tickets to the game.

  11. Kevin Gillman - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    Craig, you’re looking at one interview, and then judge him on how mellow he has been. Why not check some other interviews he has done the last few years. The fact he showed up to Indians spring training last year, and helped the young guys out a bit, shows he has indeed mellowed.

    Now NOBODY can tell me Mo Vaughn deserved the MVP that 1995 season than Albert. Who else had hit 50 HRs, 50 Doubles, hit over .300, scored over 100 runs, in just 144 games, 18 games short of a full season?

    • oldpaddy - Apr 11, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      Not to say the ’95 mvp wasn’t a popularity contest, BUT the indians were a much better team than the sox that year. Sox needed Vaughn more than Cleveland needed belle.
      MVP = most valuable player to a team, not best stats for a season.
      Just sayin

      • Kevin Gillman - Apr 11, 2013 at 11:13 PM

        See, that’s a copout excuse. Because every year that award is different. They use different excuses every single year for the same award. You can say the Indians didn’t need Belle, but he was their constant, their cleanup hitter. I would have to say without him, they wouldn’t have won as many games as they did. The Sox had to have had players to get on base so Mo could drive them in, so it wasn’t just Mo that did everything for the Sox. They also had Clemens that year, who was a bonafide ace. The Indians never had that kind of ace, so that is debatable. Just saying.

      • oldpaddy - Apr 12, 2013 at 1:27 AM

        Clemens wasn’t a bonifide ace in ’95. He started 23 games, went 10-5 and had an era over 4.
        Sox won 14 games less than the indians. Mo was thier best player, without him they don’t go anywhere. Your right, it is a team effort but the indians were a much better team. The mvp isn’t supposed to be the best player in the league, it’s supposed to be the biggest difference maker on a playoff team. Had belle been on the sox it would’ve been a no brainer.
        Pedro should’ve won the mvp in ’99 and it’s debatable if pedroia should’ve won it in ’07.

      • abaird2012 - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:12 AM

        Oh, not this again … didn’t we beat it to death during the Trout-Cabrera debacle?

  12. Robert Dobalina - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    How in the hell did John Valentin end up with the highest WAR of all the position players at 8.29??? As a SS I know he gets some extra credit, but he must have been Ozzie Smith-esque that year.

    • dluxxx - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      Mr. BOB Dobalina?? Is that you!??

    • stlouis1baseball - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      Mr. Dobalina…Mr. Bob Dobalina.

      • abaird2012 - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:13 AM

        And his good friend Bob Loblaw.

  13. ochospantalones - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    I’m with Robert Dobalina. It blew my mind to see John Valentin led position players in WAR that year. His offensive numbers were good for a shortstop, but it seems hard to believe he was that spectacular defensively as to boost him to that level. Can’t say I watched a lot Red Sox games in 1995 though.

    Looking at the numbers, clearly there is no way you could reasonably think Mo Vaughn was more valuable than Albert Belle. On the other hand, you can make a pretty good case that Edgar Martinez was better than Belle at the plate, depending on how you value on base skills versus slugging skills. The triple slash lines were .356/.479/.628 for Martinez compared to .317/.401/.690 for Belle. Of course it is hard to see a pure DH ever winning MVP, though whether or not Belle’s mediocre left field play really added any value is questionable.

    • oldpaddy - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:01 PM

      You’re focusing too much on the individual stats and missing the team stats.
      Sox won 86 and had a team era over 4.
      Cleveland won 100 and had an era under 4
      not sure about the mariners
      Given those numbers, obviously the sox needed mo more than Cleveland needed belle.
      So you can make an argument that mo deserved the mvp. But it did feal like a popularity contest that year.

  14. shavodog1 - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    I hope Belle finds this dueche and gives him the Vina treatment…

    • js20011041 - Apr 11, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      What the hell is a dueche?

  15. cocheese000 - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    Cobb is tough but players of his era were much smaller than players in the past 20 years.

  16. alexb64 - Apr 11, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    I think the point he was trying to make about steroids was that he was such a controversial, hated player that by now with all of the players that have been tied to if not straight up busted for using them, someone would’ve implicated him. Which does make sense. I wouldn’t doubt that reporters in Cleveland & Chicago looked into him pretty deep to try to find even something circumstantial.

    • oldpaddy - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:06 PM

      Except that everyone had their head in the sand when it came to roids. I don’t remember one article in the mid 90’s talking about baseball players and roids.

      • alexb64 - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:08 PM

        Why would it matter if an article was written in the 90s about it? There weren’t any written about Bonds or McGwire then either.

      • oldpaddy - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:42 PM

        My mistake, I thought you were talking about during his playing days.

  17. surefooted1 - Apr 11, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    This is what makes Albert Belle awesome though. He is who he is. He’s entertainment without excuses.

  18. takemytalentstosoutheuclid - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:16 PM

  19. yahmule - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    You what Albert was awesome at? Chasing teenagers with his car and not going to prison for 20 years as a result. Lawrence Phillips sucks at that.

  20. hushbrother - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    I followed the 1995 Red Sox closely. Mo was a good clutch hitter for most of his career, but that year he piled up his RBI total with lots of three-run homers in the ninth inning when his team was ahead or behind by ten runs.

    Vaughn won the MVP, one of the worst in history, because the writers didn’t like Belle, and because Gerry Callahan wrote a laughable endorsement for Mo as MVP in Sports Illustrated in which he essentially argued that he was more valuable than Belle because he was a nice guy and did a lot of charity work. He was maybe the third or fourth most valuable player on the Red Sox.

    • waltcoogan - Nov 3, 2013 at 5:08 AM

      Vaughn was no less than the third most valuable player on the 1995 Sox (no less than the second most valuable positional player). For the record, Vaughn batted .336 with a .461 on-base percentage and a .597 slugging average with runners in scoring position in 1995 (191 plate appearances). With runners in scoring percentage and two outs, he hit .333 with a .459 on-base percentage and a .617 slugging average (74 plate appearances). Now, perhaps to your point, in 80 plate appearances in “Late & Close” situations, Vaughn only hit .164 with a .300 on-base percentage and a .269 slugging average. However, his work in other situations could easily have negated and overrode the detriment of his “Late & Close” struggles.

  21. waltcoogan - Nov 3, 2013 at 4:42 AM

    For what it’s worth, Jose Canseco in “Juiced” writes that Belle was all natural.

    If he’d been on steroids, he probably would have been one of the guys reaching 60-plus home runs. People thought that he might be the one to break Maris’ record, but he never did, probably because he wasn’t juiced. In 1998, he “merely” hit 49 home runs while McGwire was smashing 70 and Sosa was clubbing 66.

  22. waltcoogan - Nov 3, 2013 at 5:10 AM

    By the way, Mr. Calcaterra, relying on the nature of a player’s steroids denial is fallacious. By that logic, Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Bonds did not juice.

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