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Albert Belle

Per reader vote, a prospect retro for Albert Belle.

Albert Belle (then known as Joey Belle), was drafted in the second round of the 1987 draft, out of Louisiana State, where he set records in seven offensive categories. He was considered a definite first-round talent, but concerns about his volatile personality and explosive temper hurt his draft stock. Belle is an intelligent guy. . .an Eagle Scout, an accounting major, academically accomplished, strong math aptitude. But he had serious trouble controlling his emotions, especially when insulted by racist fans, and he frequently got into trouble with coaches and managers for not hustling.

He got into 10 games for Class A Kinston after signing, hitting .324/.446/.622 in a taste of things to come.

Belle played just 50 games in 1988, although he played well in those games, hitting .301/.378/.562 for Kinston in the Carolina League. His playing time was limited by personal problems and failure to hustle. He began '89 in Double-A, hitting .282/.353/.538 with 20 homers in 89 games for Canton-Akron. Promoted to Cleveland, he struggled, hitting just .225 in 62 games. He missed most of 1990 due to personality issues.

Belle's big breakout was in 1991, when he hit .282 with 28 homers for the Indians, after going through alcohol rehab. He continued to have problems controlling his temper throughout his career, making himself an object of fan hatred and media criticism, which of course just made the situation worse. But at his best he was a remarkably effective hitter. His '95 season (52 doubles, 50 homers) was a masterpiece.

Belle's minor league career was short, just 198 games. He hit .298/.364/.533 in those games, compared to his Major League marks of .295/.369/.564, very similar. Prospect-wise, his performance in the minors was quite good, and his Major League career developed naturally from that base. His career ended early due to injury. That fact, as well as his personality problems, will keep him out of the Hall of Fame.

Comparable Players to Albert Belle, no actives listed.

Dick Allen
Hank Greenberg
Rocky Colavito
Ralph Kiner
Reggie Smith
George Foster
Chuck Klein
Johnny Mize

Greenberg, Kiner, Mize, and Klein are all Hall of Famers. Allen would be, but isn't for the same reasons that Albert Belle isn't. Colavito, Smith, and Foster were all excellent hitters and better than some players in the Hall.