David Bell is the new field manager of the Cincinnati Reds. The baseball club announced Sunday, October 21, that Bell had been signed to a three-year contract with a club option for 2022.
46-year-old Bell is a native of Cincinnati. He was on the Moeller High School baseball team in 1989 that won a state championship. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1990 and debuted in his first MLB game in 1995. Bell, a third baseman, went on to play 12 seasons of professional baseball. His roster of teams included the St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies and the Milwaukee Brewers.
David Bell has never been a manager, but he’s been coaching for the past several years. His experience includes 4 years working with Reds development teams, before going on to coach third base for the Chicago Cubs in 2013. Bell then spent four years with the St. Louis Cardinals. During the 2018 season, Bell served as the Vice President of Player Development for the San Francisco Giants.
Bell’s family is very well-known in professional baseball. They are one of only five families to have three generations play Major League Baseball. Bell’s father, grandfather and two brothers all made it to the big leagues.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. David Bell’s Grandfather, Gus, is in the Reds Hall of Fame
David Russell Bell, nicknamed Gus, is David Bell’s grandfather. Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, he played the majority of his professional baseball career in Cincinnati. He was inducted in the Reds Hall of Fame in 1964, the same year he retired from the major leagues.
Gus was drafted by the Pirates in 1950, when he was 21 years old. He played in Pittsburgh for two seasons. But he butted heads with management, according to his Reds Hall of Fame bio. Gus wanted his wife and children to travel with him during the season. That disagreement led to his trade to the Cincinnati Reds. Gus played the outfield, threw right-handed and batted with his left hand. He was selected to play in the All-Star Game four times, from 1953 through 1957.
After nearly a decade with the Reds, Gus had the opportunity to play baseball in New York. Gus’ son, Buddy, told Cincinnati.com that playing in New York had been his father’s lifelong dream. Gus joined the newly created New York Mets. He went into the history books as the very first member of the new baseball club to get a hit for the team, on April 11, 1962.
However, the Mets did not have a promising start in 1962, losing their first nine games. Gus was traded to the Milwaukee Braves in May. The Mets went on to finish that season with a 40-120 record. Gus played in just six games during his final two seasons due to injuries.
Gus retired on May 1, 1964. He played in 1,741 games during his baseball career. You can see his career stats here.
Gus Bell passed away in 1995 after suffering from a heart attack. He died just a few days after his grandson, David Bell, played in his first Major League game. He listened to the game over the radio from a hospital bed. Gus was 66 years old when he died.
2. David Bell Will Be Working With his Father, Buddy, Who is on the Cincinnati Reds Executive Staff
David Gus Bell goes by his nickname, Buddy. He has been back working for the Cincinnati Reds since 2017, when he was named as a vice president and senior adviser to General Manager Robert H. Castellini.
Buddy was born August 27, 1951, while his father was playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Buddy spent most of his childhood in Cincinnati and graduated from Moeller High School. According to his MLB player profile, he attended Miami University of Ohio.
Buddy was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1969 in the 16th round. He made his professional debut on April 15, 1972. Buddy stayed in Cleveland until 1979, when he was traded to the Texas Rangers. In 1985, he returned home to the Cincinnati Reds, but did not stay with the team as long as his father had. Buddy went to the Houston Astros in 1988. He retired in 1989.
Buddy Bell next became a coach, first for the Reds and then the Indians. If David Bell ever needs advice about how to manage a professional ball club, his father has plenty of experience to draw on. Buddy previously managed the Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals.
Buddy was fired from the Colorado Rockies at the beginning of the 2002 season, when the team began with a 6-16 record. It was the worst start in the club’s history. Buddy was quoted in the Deseret News at the time: “I am disappointed that this has not worked out the way I wanted it to. I wanted to see this thing through.”
He may have some tips for how David Bell can avoid the same situation, considering that Bell is taking over a team that hasn’t made it to the postseason since 2013 and has averaged 95 losses the past four seasons, as reported by CBS Sports.
3. David Bell’s Younger Brother, Mike, Played Mainly in the Minor Leagues & is Now in Charge of Player Development at the Arizona Diamondbacks
Michael John Bell is David Bell’s younger brother. He was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1993, but was never elevated from the minor leagues while playing in Texas. He also played within the New York Mets organization.
In 1999, Mike participated in the family tradition by signing with the Cincinnati Reds. He made his Major League debut on July 20, 2000. Mike played 19 games in his only season at that level. He returned to the minor leagues the next year and continued playing until 2005.
Mike Bell is now the Director of Player Development for the Arizona Diamondbacks. According to his bio, Mike’s job involves maintaining “relationships with the organization’s affiliates, manages the coordinators and coaching staffs, and handles player acquisitions and transactions.” He has been with the club for 12 years and has been Director of Player Development since 2016.
Mike earned a college degree in 2010 from the University of Phoenix. He has a wife and three children.
4. Ricky Bell is the Youngest Brother & Was a First-Round Draft Pick
Rick Bradley Bell was born April 5, 1979 in Cincinnati. Like his brothers, he also played third base. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1997. According to his brother Mike’s Diamondbacks profile, Rick was a first-round pick.
Rick broke the family tradition and was never signed by the Cincinnati Reds. He played nine seasons in the minor leagues before retiring in 2006.
5. David Bell Married His Wife, Kristi, in 1999
David Bell has been married to Kristi Kimener since 1999. The couple has one daughter, Brogan, and a son, who is also named David but goes by his middle name, Gus.
While working for the St. Louis Cardinals, David Bell explained that his family was the reason why he stepped away from playing professional baseball. He wanted to spend more time with his young children. But it was important for him not to abandon baseball entirely. He explained to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2016 why he became a coach. “In a way, I feel called to do this. And my family and my children will get the full me, the full picture. I think that’s what they want.”
In the article, David Bell credited Kristi for keeping the family centered. His baseball career kept them moving often. Their daughter, Brogan, lived in eight homes in nine years. The newspaper described Kristi as the person who “helps keep the family’s perspective, focusing on the places David’s career has taken them together, not the distance that it sometimes keeps them apart.”