David Bell should be remembered for more than just one big moment with the San Francisco Giants in 2002.
David Bell strung together an impressive postseason performance in 2002 that nearly netted the Giants a World Series title.
So far, we have profiled a handful of Giants to only appear in one season with the team including:
Bell is the last in this series and like Kenny Lofton, he provided a jolt to a Giants lineup that lost a heart-breaking match to the Anaheim Angels in 2002.
San Francisco originally acquired Bell in a trade that sent Desi Relaford and cash to the Seattle Mariners.
The veteran Relaford had been previously acquired in a move that shipped left-handed pitcher Shawn Estes to the New York Mets. However, he was moved to the Mariners before he could ever put on a Giants uniform.
With San Francisco, Bell posted a .261/.333/.429 line (104 OPS+) with 20 home runs, 73 RBI, and 82 runs scored while bringing home the Willie Mac Award. According to Baseball-Reference, he was worth 3.2 WAR in his lone season with the Giants.
The 2002 Giants had a potent lineup that featured several power hitters including Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, Benito Santiago, Reggie Sanders, and Bell. This lineup never had a problem scoring runs.
This team not only could hit, but boasted a complete roster as they recorded a 95-66 overall record while finishing in second place behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West. Despite the runners-up finish, the Giants won enough to nab the lone Wild Card spot.
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The postseason is where Bell made his most meaningful impact. Of course, the most notable moment is when Bell slid into home plate off of a Kenny Lofton single to send San Francisco to the World Series:
However, he had plenty of highlights in the Orange in Black in that postseason beyond the slide. In this clip, Bell rips an RBI single up the middle to plate J.T. Snow and give the Giants the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of Game Four of the World Series. The team would hold on to that lead and bring the series back to a 2-2 tie against the Angels.
Besides these highlights, Bell found another gear in the playoffs. Against the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, the veteran infielder went 7-for-17 while reaching base nine times and scoring four of those times.
He did not stop there. The World Series went a full seven games against the Angels, and Bell nearly pushed the Giants over the finish line. The right-handed bat went 7-for-23 while reaching base 12 times and recording four RBI and four runs scored.
Despite his best efforts, the Giants lost to the Angels in a heart-breaking showdown.
On baseball’s biggest stage, Bell proved his worth. This did not go unnoticed, either. The third baseman may have priced himself out of San Francisco with his postseason production.
Following the team’s defeat to the Angels, Bell entered free agency with plenty of interested suitors. The Philadelphia Phillies nabbed the third baseman on a four-year, $17 million contract.
The Giants replaced Bell by signing former New York Mets infielder Edgardo Alfonzo to a three-year pact. Neither this deal nor the contract the Phillies handed out to Bell worked out in either team’s favor.
Bell did spend more time with the Giants in his post-playing career. After serving as the Cardinals bench coach, the Giants tabbed Bell to be their vice president of player development.
Similar to his time as the Giants third baseman, his time in the front office was brief. After one season, he agreed to become the next Cincinnati Reds manager.
This was not surprising as his grandfather, Gus Bell, and his father, Buddy Bell, both played extensively with the Reds in their respective careers. In a way, this was a return home for the former third baseman.
Even though the Giants did not win the World Series in 2002, David Bell strung together a memorable performance. His slide into home plate is what the fan base remembers most, but his positive contributions throughout that season still make him a popular Giant to this day.