100-year-old former Tribe bullpen catcher a Tribe throwback
Significant renovations at League Park have been completed, and several local teams have tested the newly-installed turf field and visited the Baseball Heritage Museum. Now more than ever, Indians fans are able to learn about their team’s history.
A special part of that history was on hand during the Tribe’s last homestand of the year, on Wednesday against the Royals at Progressive Field — 100-year-old Laden Bell. Bell, a former Indians batting practice catcher – including at League Park — came armed with numerous great stories from his time with the team.
“When the catcher got tired, I used to catch,” Bell said. “It was good. We didn’t do much winning, but they eventually started winning.”
Bell said he caught batting practice for the likes of Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Larry Doby and Satchel Paige.
“I loved all the players and got along with all of them,” Bell said.
Bell, who said to tell Tribe fans that he was really only 94 years old, had a great relationship with Satchel Paige – a Negro League legend and eventual Indians Hall of Famer who pitched for the Tribe from 1948-1949.
He told a group of fans one of his favorite stories of the tall right-hander.
“We asked Satchel Paige why he walked so slow, and he said, ‘No use in hurrying into trouble.’”
Bell’s long-time memories as a batting practice catcher have given the 100-year-old an entirely new meaning of the game.
“There is so much to be thankful for; I’m just happy [to be here],” he said. “I’ll go wherever they put me, as long as I’m in the ballpark.”
–TribeVibe contributor Megan Golden