David Russell Bell was born on November 15, 1928 in Louisville, Kentucky. The six foot left handed hitting Bell became known as Gus, in honor of Italian / American catcher Gus Mancusco.
Gus Bell was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1947. He hit .325 at A ball Albany in 1949, followed by a huge start to his minor league season in 1950. He was batting over .400 with 6 HRs after 38 games when he got the call up to the big leagues.
He batted behind Pirate slugger & future Mets announcer Ralph Kiner for three seasons. In his rookie year, Bell hit .282 with 8 HRs & 22 doubles. In 1951 he had his best season in Pittsburgh as he led the league in triples (12) hit 16 HRs & batted .278 while driving in 89 runs with a .330 on base %.
On June 12th he hit for the cycle in the first game of a double header against the Philadelphia Phillies.
After the season he was sent to the Cincinnati Reds for Cal Abrams, Gil Henley & Joe Rossi.
He was thrilled to return to his hometown area, near Louisville as a local star.
He had some good seasons in nine years at Cincinnati playing in the shadows of Reds sluggers Ted Kuzewski & Frank Robinson.
In Bell's first year in Cincinnati he had a career high 30 HRs (7th in the league) with 37 doubles (5th in the league) & 105 RBIs while batting .300 for the sixth place Reds. it was the first of three straight seasons he drove in over 100 runs. He would make his first two All Star games in 1953 & 1954.
Bell would have three seasons where he hit 20 or more HRs, as well as four seasons with 100 plus RBIs, coming in the league’s top ten in both categories three times. Besides hitting .300 twice he hit over .290 four more times with the Reds, as well as having two 100 plus runs scored seasons.
Gus Bell made four All Star teams and was one of the league’s top players during his years. He led all centerfielders in fielding % twice & when he played in right field he led right fielders in fielding twice as well.
His arm got him double figures in assists eight times including a high of 18 in 1951.
In 1955 he batted .308 with 188 hits (third in the league) with 27 HRs (10th in the NL) 30 doubles (5th in the NL) & 108 RBIs (10th in the NL) posting a .361 on base %.
On May 26th, 1956 he hit HRs in three consecutive at bats in a game at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs. That day Bell along with team mates Ted Kluzewski & Bob Thurman became just the second set of players from the same team, to hit three HRs in a single game. That day Bell had five hits with seven RBIs in the 10-4 win.
Later that year, on September 21st he drove in eight runs in a 14-5 win over the Milwaukee Braves. That day he gathered up four hits with a grand slam HR, a double & a walk.
Bell made the 1956 All Star team, as the starting centerfielder going 0-1 in the NL's 7-3 win.
In 1957 he was included with six other Reds players that made the All Star team. The Reds fans were accused of stuffing the ballot boxes illegally with their votes. Bell remained on the All Star team as a reserve player, although his team mate Wally Post was removed completely from the roster.
Bell entered the '57 All Star game as a pinch hitter for Frank Robinson in the 7th inning. He singled off future Hall of Fame pitcher Early Wynn, driving in Willie Mays and Ed Bailey in the 6-5 NL loss.
Over the next few years his numbers fell off, although he did drive in 115 runs in 1959, his fourth season with over 100 plus RBIs.
For the 1961 NL Champion Reds he played in 108 games, with 235 at bats as his career began to wind down at age 32. He hit .255 with 3 HRs 10 doubles & 33 RBIs as a back up to outfielders to Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson & Wally Post.