|Birth Day:||August 25, 1966|
|Birth Place:||Shreveport, United States|
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He grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana and starred on the same Little League baseball team as future PGA golfer David Toms.
Albert and his fraternal twin, Terry, were born on August 25, 1966, in Shreveport, Louisiana, the son of Albert Belle Sr., a high school baseball and football coach, and Carrie Belle, a former math teacher. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. Belle attended Huntington High School in Shreveport, where he was a star baseball and football player, a member of the National Honor Society and vice president of the local Future Business Leaders of America. He graduated sixth in his high school class and made the all-state baseball team twice. In 1984, he was selected to play for the USA in the Junior Olympics, in which the U.S. won a silver medal. He played outfield and pitched, winning one game. After graduation, Belle was offered an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. However, Belle decided to stay close to home, and accepted a baseball scholarship to Louisiana State University.
Belle played college baseball at Louisiana State University from 1985 to 1987, where he made 1st team All-SEC in 1986 and 1987 and played in 184 games, with 585 at bats, 194 hits, 30 doubles, 49 home runs, 172 runs batted in, 157 runs, a .670 slugging percentage, and a .332 batting average. In 1986, he played collegiate summer baseball in the Cape Cod Baseball League for the Chatham A's, then returned to the league in 1987 to play for the Hyannis Mets.
In 1990, the Indians sent Belle to the Cleveland Clinic for two months for alcoholism rehabilitation.
Belle became the fourth player to have eight straight seasons of 30 home runs and 100 RBIs, joining Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig (a feat since matched by Albert Pujols, Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez). He was an accomplished baserunner, with a career high 23 steals in 1993, and 17 steals in 1999 despite hip problems. He led the league three times in RBIs, three times in total bases, three times in extra-base hits and twice in slugging. He was a five-time All-Star between 1993 and 1997. He had a powerful throwing arm, and was a gifted pitcher in high school. His range factor by games played was consistently higher than the major league average at that position; nevertheless, he still managed to accrue a -12.5 defensive WAR during 12 major league seasons.
Belle's reputation and disdain of the media cost him votes for the 1995 MVP Award. He finished second in the voting to the Boston Red Sox' Mo Vaughn even though he led the American League that season in runs scored, home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage and total bases, and outpaced Vaughn head-to-head in every important offensive category except RBIs (both men had 126); both players' teams reached the playoffs. This was in the middle of a three-year streak in which Belle finished 3rd, 2nd and 3rd for the American League MVP. Belle had two other top ten MVP finishes, in 1993 (7th) and 1998 (8th).
In 1994, Belle lost the batting title to New York Yankees outfielder Paul O'Neill, .359 to .357. In 1995, Belle became the first player in major league history to hit 50 home runs and 50 doubles in the same season; the last player before him to reach as many as 40 in both categories had been Willie Stargell in 1973. The achievement was especially impressive because Belle played only 143 games in 1995 due to a season shortened by the previous year's player strike.
Belle was suspended in 1994 for using a corked bat, and gained further notoriety for sending teammate Jason Grimsley through the building's ceiling panel to break into the locked umpires' dressing room to retrieve his corked bat and substitute it with another teammate's bat, resulting in a seven-game suspension. The revelation of Belle's use of corked bats was given more emphasis when Cleveland teammate Omar Vizquel wrote in his autobiography that it would be naive to suggest otherwise and that "all of Albert's bats were corked." He was fined in 1996 for knocking down Brewers infielder Fernando Viña, who had blocked his way between bases.
In October 1995, Belle's house in Euclid, Ohio was egged after turning away trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Belle chased one of the trick-or-treaters in his car. Belle was fined $100 for reckless operation of a vehicle. The guardian of the teenager sued Belle for $850,000 contending that Belle's car bumped into the teenager. The lawsuit was settled in 1997.
In retirement, Belle had his first encounter with the Cleveland Indians since leaving the club in 1996, during their 2012 spring training in Goodyear, Arizona and was joined by former teammates Kenny Lofton, Sandy Alomar, Jr., and Carlos Baerga.
In the winter of 1996, Belle signed a 5-year, $55 million ($87,596,393 today) deal with the Chicago White Sox as a free agent. This contract made him the highest paid player in baseball for a brief period and the first player in baseball history to make $10 million in a season. He enjoyed two great seasons in Chicago, including a career-high 27-game hitting streak in May 1997, and came close to another 50/50 season in 1998 with 49 home runs (a White Sox team record that still stands) and 48 doubles. He also drove in 152 runs to break Zeke Bonura's single-season franchise record of 138 in 1936 (to date, the RBI total also remains a White Sox single-season record). Additionally, when Cal Ripken, Jr. ended his record consecutive game streak at 2,632 in September 1998 on the last day of the season, it was Belle who took over as the major leagues' active leader in the category.
Belle's contract with the White Sox had an unusual clause allowing him to demand that he would remain one of the three highest paid players in baseball. In October 1998 he invoked the clause, and when the White Sox declined to give him a raise he immediately became a free agent. He again became the game's highest paid player, signing a five-year, $65 million ($99,759,289 today) deal with the Baltimore Orioles. But his career ended just two seasons later when he was forced into retirement at age 34 by degenerative hip osteoarthritis. He was, however, kept on Baltimore's active 40-man roster for the next three years as a condition of the insurance policy which largely reimbursed the Orioles for the remainder of his contract.
Belle homered in the final at-bat of his major-league career, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on October 1, 2000.
In 2001, following his retirement, the New York Daily News' columnist Bill Madden wrote:
Belle's career highs in home runs, RBIs, batting average, runs scored and walks occurred in five separate seasons. In 2006, the Hardball Times published a statistical comparison of Belle's career statistics with that of 60 of his current and former peers. The article ranked him in career "prime value", behind current Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner and recent inductee Frank Thomas.
In 2006, Belle was sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years' probation after he admitted to stalking his former girlfriend.
In his first year of Hall of Fame eligibility (2006), he garnered only 7.7% of the baseball writers' votes, missing election by an extremely wide margin. But his vote total was high enough to keep his name on the ballot for the following year. In 2007, however, he garnered only 19 votes (3.5%).
On March 25, 2018, Belle was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona and charged with indecent exposure and DUI. All charges were dismissed the following month.
Currently, Albert Belle is 56 years, 5 months and 12 days old. Albert Belle will celebrate 57th birthday on a Friday 25th of August 2023.
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