Minnesota Twins bench coach Mike Bell died Friday after a battle with kidney cancer. He was 46.
Bell was on indefinite leave after receiving the diagnosis.
Bell experienced symptoms in mid-January and underwent a procedure on Jan. 28 to remove the growth and surrounding tissue. Doctors were encouraged that he would make a full recovery as of mid-February and join the Twins for his second season with the organization.
“The Minnesota Twins are devastated by the loss of Mike Bell,” the team said in a statement. “In his short time with our club, Mike had an indelibly positive impact — not only on the quality of our team on the field, but most importantly upon everyone whom he met.
“Widely respected in our game, all who knew Mike, on and off the field, are better for the experience. The Twins join the baseball world in mourning Mike’s untimely passing; our thoughts and best wishes are with his wife, Kelly, his three children, Luke, Mikayla and Madeline, and the entire Bell family during this difficult time.”
Bell is part of a family of big league players and managers.
Bell is the brother of David Bell, a former player and current manager of the Cincinnati Reds. He is the son of Buddy Bell, a five-time All-Star who later managed three teams and currently serves as a senior advisor for the Reds, and he is the grandson of Gus Bell, a four-time All-Star in the 1950s.
Prior to joining the Twins, Bell worked in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ system for the previous 13 seasons.
He was an original expansion pick by Arizona as a player in 1997, and served stints as minor league manager, field coordinator, farm director and vice president of player development.
“Mike was truly beloved by everyone who knew him — from coaches and players to colleagues and staff in Arizona and throughout our minor league system,” the Diamondbacks said in a statement. “His loss leaves a huge hole in our hearts, but his impact cannot be overstated, and his legacy will not be forgotten. Mike brought authenticity and positive energy to every interaction he had, both on and off the field, and he was a true leader in the game of baseball that has embraced his family for three generations.”
Bell was a first-round pick by the Texas Rangers in 1993 but his experience as a major league player was brief. He played 19 games in the majors in 2000 with the Reds and batted .222 with two homers and four RBIs in 27 at-bats.
“Our Reds family is overwhelmed with sadness for the Bells as they mourn the loss of Mike,” Cincinnati chief executive officer Bob Castellini said in a statement. “This great baseball family blessed thousands of people over the 70 years it has devoted to our game.
“We are honored that Mike, like his grandfather Gus, his father Buddy and brother David, wore a Reds uniform. Our hearts and support go out to Buddy, David and their families.”
–Field Level Media