Heath Bell: Former Mets Relief Pitcher (2004 - 2006)

Heath Justin Bell
was born September 29, 1977, in Oceanside, California. The tall right-handed pitcher was signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 1998. 

Bell was a lifelong reliever saving over 20 games twice at the A ball level, then saving 16 games twice at the AAA level.

Mets Career: On August 24th, Bell debuted pitching two innings at Shea Stadium in a 3-1 loss to the San Diego Padres. 

On September 3rd he gave up HRs to Jason Michaels & Pat Burrell, taking a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, falling to 0-2. On September 16th he was credited with a hold in a 9-4 win over the Braves. In 17 appearances he was 0-2 with a 3.33 ERA.

2005: The Mets improved in the off season, with acquisitions of Pedro Martinez & Carlos Beltran along with new skipper Willie Randolph. 

On April 19th he made his first appearance of the season finishing off a 16-4 win at Philadelphia. On May 6th, he pitched 2.2 innings of relief, although he gave up a run, he earned a hold in the 7-4 win at Milwaukee.

On May 11th, he took a loss as he served up a 10th inning walk off HR to the Cubs' Derek Bell at Wrigley Field in Chicago. After suffering a loss at Florida then giving up three runs to Houston on June 9th, he fell to 0-3. 

On July 7th, he pitched two scoreless innings at Washington D.C. to earn his only Mets win. In late July he was sent down to AAA Norfolk where went 3-1 then returned to the Mets a month later. 
On the year he was 1-3 with four holds & a 5.59 ERA in 42 appearances for the 83-79, third place Mets.

2006 Met NL Eastern Champion Season: The Mets made more improvements that off season, signing Carlos Delgado, Paul LoDuca & Billy Wagner. Heath Bell began the year at AAA Norfolk, collecting 12 saves with a 1.29 ERA into early May. 

On May 10th he was back with the Mets pitching the 8th inning of a 13-4 win over the Phillies. 

Bell was being mostly used in mop up situations, finishing off six games in his 22 appearances. On July 2nd, Bell gave up HRs to Alex Rodriguez & Nick Green in a 16-7 subway series loss in the Bronx.

Bell was sent back down to AAA Norfolk, then returned when the September rosters expanded. On September 11th, he had his worst outing giving up five runs on seven hits including HRs to Cody Ross & Josh Willingham in a 16-5 loss to the Marlins in Miami.

On the season he posted no record with a 5.11 ERA, striking out 35 batters & walked 11 in in 37 innings of work in 22 appearances. He did not pitch in the 2006 post season.

In November of 2006, the Mets had come off an Eastern Divisional title & General Manager Omar Minaya began to make a few bad decisions. One of them was trading away Heath Bell. He was traded along with Royce Ring to the San Diego Padres for Ben Johnson & Jon Adkins.

Post Mets Career: Bell spent his first two seasons as the setup man for the San Diego Padres Trevor Hoffman. In 2007 he posted a 2.02 ERA with 34 holds, posting a 6-4 record in 81 games. In 2009 he took over as Hoffman's successor in San Diego as the teams closer. Bell became one of the National League's top closers & was outspoken about how the Mets had no patience in waiting for him to develop.

In 2009, he returned to New York on the Opening Day of the new Citi Field. After receiving a large round of boo’s during the introductions (centerfieldmaz was in attendance) he closed out the game with a save for the Padres. 

That season, Bell went on to win the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award, saving a league leading 42 games, posting a 6-4 record with a 2.71 ERA.

In 2010 he may have had an even better season, posting 47 saves with a 5-0 record and a 1.93 ERA for a first place NL Western Division Champion Padres team. 

From May 29th through May 3rd the following seasons he converted 41 consecutive saves tying a
Padre record set by Trevor Hoffman. In his next game, Bell was credited with a blown save when infielder Chase Headly made a throwing error leading to two runs, ruining the bid for the 42nd consecutive save. 
That year Bell made the All-Star team, came in 8th in the Cy Young voting & even received votes for the MVP Award. 

In 2011 he collected fort saves or more for the third straight season, posting 43 saves (4th in the NL) with a 3-4 record & 2.44 ERA, but the Padres dropped off to a last place finish.

In 2012 Bell signed on with the Miami Marlins ready to play in the new Marlins Stadium in South Florida. But Bell struggled saying he was missing his family & was terrible in his Miami debut. By May he had already blown four saves with an ERA over ten.

In May he got back on track saving seven games while going 2-0, although his ERA was still at 7.20.

By July his role had become that of a setup man for Steve Cishek who would save 15 games for the Marlins. Bell ended the year at 4-5 with a 5.09 ERA saving 19 games.

Drama: In September he commented about his manager Ozzie Guillen to a Florida Radio station saying- "it's been an interesting year with Ozzie, that's about all I have to say about it".
Manager Ozzie Guillen shouted back saying he had no respect for Bell as a person. From the start
Guillen was having nothing but troubles in Florida, especially when he foolishly said he admired Fidel Castro. This did not go over well with the many Cuban/Americans in South Florida who had a history or had a family member who had had suffered terrible hardships during Castros dictatorship.

Guillen had also fought with other players & the team's owner.

Bell said his comments were taken out of text & refused any further interviews with the media.

In October 2012, the Marlins parted ways with Bell. He was part of a three-team trade that sent him to the Arizona D-backs. It was the same deal that sent Chris Young to Oakland.

In 2013 for Arizona Bell led the team, with 15 saves, three ahead of Brad Ziegler. He went 5-2 with a 4.11 ERA, striking out 72 batters, walking 16 in 65 innings pitched, in 69 appearances.

In December of 2013, Bell was involved in a three-team deal landing with the Tampa Rays. In 13 appearances he posted an ERA over seven & was released in May.

MLB Record: Bell set an NL record for 549 games without an error spanning from 204 -2013.

Bell signed with the Baltimore Orioles but opted out after ten games at AAA Norfolk. He then signed on with the AL New York & Washington Nationals but was released each time not making it the big-league level.

Career Stats: In his eleven-year career Bell was 38-32 with 168 saves in 590 appearances. He struck out 637 batters & walked 214 in 628 innings.

Family: Heath & his wife Nicole have four children together. They are devout Christians & he credits his faith for his success in baseball.
He is cousins to actor Drake Bell & former NBA player Erik Meek.


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