All-Time MLB Players From Louisiana: Albert Belle
There have been a number of individuals from Lafayette, and the Acadiana area, that have played in Major League Baseball over the years.
Obviously, the entire state of Louisiana has produced even more.
As a matter of fact, 246 people born in the state of Louisiana have appeared in a Major League Baseball game, beginning in 1874, with John Peters of New Orleans, who played 11 years, with the likes of the Chicago White Stockings, Milwaukee Grays, Providence Grays, Buffalo Bisons, and Pittsburgh Alleghenys.
All summer, we’ll preview a player from the state of Louisiana that appeared in Major League baseball, starting with players from Lafayette, before spotlighting players from the Acadiana area, and then a few from the state itself.
Yesterday, we spotlighted Chad Ogea.
Today, we feature Albert Belle.
Born in Shreveport in 1966, Belle, a right-handed hitting outfielder, played parts of 12 seasons in Major League Baseball, with the Cleveland Indians (1989-1996), Chicago White Sox (1997-1998), and the Baltimore Orioles (1999-2000).
After playing his high school baseball at Huntington High School, and then his college baseball at LSU, Belle was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the second round of the 1987 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Belle made minor league stops in Kinston, North Carolina, Waterloo, Iowa, Canton-Akron, Ohio, and Colorado Springs, Colorado, before getting called up to the big leagues by the Indians in July of 1989, at the age of 22.
In his major league debut, on July 15, 1989, Belle went 1-for-4 with an RBI, in a game against the Texas Rangers.
Belle went on to hit a .225 with 7 home runs and 37 runs batted in in 218 at-bats in that 1989 season.
Following the 1990 campaign, which saw him only come to the plate 25 times, Belle had a breakout year in 1991, batting a .282 with 28 homers and 95 runs batted in.
Over the next 9 seasons, Belle became one of the most feared hitters in Major League Baseball, being named an American League All-Star five times (1993-1997), while finishing in the top ten of the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting five time (1993-1996, 1998).
From 1992-1999, Belle became the fourth player in MLB history to have eight straight seasons of 30 home runs and 100 RBI seasons, joining Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmie Foxx.
Belle just missed out on the AL batting title in 1994, hitting a .357, compared to Paul O'Neil's .359.
In 1995, Belle became the first player in major league history to hit 50 home runs and 50 doubles in the same season, after hitting a .317 with 50 homers, which led the league, and 126 RBI's.
Belle left the Indians following the 1996 season to sign a free agent contract with the Chicago White Sox, where he hit a .301 with 79 homers and 268 RBI's over two years, before moving on the play for the Baltimore Orioles for the final two years of his MLB career, hitting a combined .289 with 60 homers and 220 RBI's.
Forced into early retirement at age 34 by degenerative hip, Belle played his last MLB game on October 1 of 2000, after a home run in his final at-bat.
In 5 minor league seasons, Belle hit a .298 with 39 homers and 157 RBI's.
In 12 seasons in Major League Baseball, Belle hit a .295. to go along with 381 homers, 1,239 RBI's, and 88 stolen bases.