William Bell, Sr.
Career: 1923-1937, 1948
Positions: p, of, manager
Teams: Kansas City Monarchs (1923-1930), Harlem Stars (1931), Detroit Wolves (1932), Homestead Grays (1932), Pittsburgh Crawfords (1932-1935), Newark Dodgers (1935), Newark Eagles (1936-1937, 1948)
Born: Lavaca County, Texas
Died: 1979, El Campo, Texas
Bell was a clutch pitcher with a moving fastball, a good curve and change, a slider, and excellent control. A workhorse for the pennant-winning Kansas City Monarchs of 1924 and 1925, the ledger shows marks of 10-2 and 9-3 for the regular season. He started three games in the 1924 World Series, winning his only decision and compiling a 2.63 ERA, and in the 1925 World Series he pitched in three games, including two starts, and had a 1.13 ERA. The following year he is credited with a 16-3 record, as the Monarchs lost their bid for a third consecutive pennant in a league playoff against the Chicago American Giants. In 1927-1928 he logged records of 13-6 and 10-7. Still in his prime, he spent the 1928-1929 winter with Havana in the Cuban League and tied with Dolph Luque for the lead in wins with nine. The next two years, back in the United States with the Monarchs, he fashioned work sheets of 14-4 and 9-3.
In 1932, after the demise of the Negro National League the previous season, he joined the Detroit Wolves. When the Detroit franchise was absorbed by the Homestead Grays, he signed with the Pittsburgh Crawfords and compiled a 16-4 record for the 1932 season. From the Crawfords he went to the Newark Dodgers, and when that franchise was merged with the Brooklyn Eagles to form the Newark Eagles, he became the Eagles' manager in 1936-1937. He was a good teacher, and, with his mastery of the three basic pitches, was a positive role model for young pitchers. Bell also was a decent hitter for a pitcher, batting .321 and .286 in 1927 and 1929, and fielded his position adequately, but was slow on the bases. His last appearance in black baseball was as a manager of the Eagles in 1948.
Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.