Mariners #3 Third Baseman: David Bell – 5.6 fWAR
Don’t get once in a generation confused with multi-generational. David Bell was the grandson of Gus Bell and son of Buddy Bell, making him the third generation Bell to play in the majors. He is just one of five families to accomplish the fact, and it was always something that would get brought up during his playing career.
Bell came to the Mariners at the deadline in 1998, being acquired from Cleveland for Joey Cora. Just 25, he would rake during that last month of the season, hitting .325. It’s a big part of the reason that I’m actually putting him ahead of Blowers.
He stuck around for four seasons and was a solid player the entire time. I sort of wish that he could’ve stuck around longer, but the Mariners sent him to the Giants after the 2001 season.
His best season with the Mariners was his last one, during that 2001 season. He would hit .260/.303/.415, with a WRC+ of just 90, but a low K rate of 11.6%. It wasn’t his offense that made him good though, it was his defense. He played the entire year at third, appearing in 134 games there. He dominated in TZ (total zone in runs above average) was +19. For reference, anything above 15 is considered Gold Glove Caliber.
That season was good enough for a 3.2 fWAR, the second-best mark he would put up in his entire career. The Mariners likely could’ve kept him around for a few more years instead of Jeff Cirillo, but the team wasn’t known for making the best moves back then.