African American Player Profile
Cool Papa Bell (Negro Leagues: 1922-1946)
Not much is known about Cool Papa Bell, except that he had blazing speed and could hit with anyone. Really, all we have of him are stories, much like other Negro Leaguers. Many are just not likely to be true, such as Satchel Paige claiming Bell hit a line drive up the middle, only to be hit by it as he slid into second base, meaning he had ran the full 180 feet before the ball had traveled the roughly 120 feet to second base. Another, also told by Satchel Paige, is he could turn off the lights and jump into bed before the room became dark. Others are more likely to be true. One is that he could run the bases, a 360-feet route, in 12 seconds. That is equivalent to 30 feet per second or 20.5 miles per hour. The fastest man alive, Usain Bolt, runs at 23.3 miles per hour, and that is in professional sprinting gear and without the turns of the base path. My favorite Cool Papa story is that he once scored from first on a bunt. Stealing on the pitch, Bell rounded second as just as the bunt was put down, and was rounding third by the time the throw reached first base. The catcher was covering third while the third baseman fielded the bunt, and Bell scored easily over the uncovered home plate.
Free Agent Signings
Yankees signed David Aardsma (missed 2011 season, 4.20 career ERA, 69 saves, 2012 age: 30) to a one-year, $500,000 deal (plus up to $500,000 in incentives).
Angels signed Jason Isringhausen (3-3, 4.05 ERA, .211 BAA, 7 saves, 2012 age: 39) to a minor league deal.
Blue Jays signed Rick VandenHurk (0-0, 8.00 ERA, .324 BAA, 2012 age: 27) to a non-garunteed split major league contract.
David Aardsma, whose name is tops all-time in alphabetical order, just ahead of Hank Aaron, gives the Yankees an extra arm for late in the season. Because he is coming off Tommy John surgery, he does not look to play until after the All Star break. His contract includes an option for 2013, so with Mariano planning to retire at season's end, Aardsma could be the man to succeed Rivera. Aardsma already played for five teams from 2004-2009, and now adds a sixth with the Yankees. After going 10-3 over his first four years in the majors (with four different teams), he broke out in 2009 with the Mariners, his fifth team, by posting a 2.52 ERA, .190 BAA, and most importantly, 38 saves in 73 appearances. Previously, his best year had been 2006 with the Cubs, when he was 3-0 with a 4.08 ERA in 45 appearances. David pitched well again in 2010, posting a 3.44 ERA and 31 saves in 53 appearances for Seattle, but went down with injury late in the season. He had Tommy John surgery in 2011, so he missed the whole year. Over his six-year career, he is 13-15 with a 4.20 ERA, .236 BAA, and 69 saves in 254 appearances.
Jason Isringhausen will act as a veteran presence in a young Halos bullpen, as his time in the major leagues logs back to 1995. That year, he rocked New York by going 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA in 14 starts for the Mets as a 22-year-old rookie. He began his conversion to reliever in 1999, and since then he has been a two-time All Star and lights out closer. The small town Illinois native is best known for his years with the Cardinals, with which he saved 217 games over seven seasons. His best year was 2005, when he was 1-2 with a 2.14 ERA, .202 BAA, and 39 saves in 63 appearances. Over his 16-year career, he is 48-53 with a 3.62 ERA, .237 BAA, and 300 saves in 674 appearances (52 starts).
The Nationals signed Ryan Zimmerman to a six-year, $100 million extension with a full no-trade clause. His contract is now for eight years, $126 million.
Mariano Rivera announced that he plans to retire at season's end.
Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore incurred another setback with a back injury that should keep him out of action through Opening Day.
Indians closer Chris Perez is out for 4 to 6 weeks with a strained oblique.
Teams followed in this updates: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves
If your team is not included, please leave a comment.
HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. BAA: batting average against. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage
Note from the Writer: I made my JV Baseball team at Madison, so with much of my time consumed, updates may become a little bit more infrequent. I will try to keep up, though.