Rich Zawadzki puts 1994 Albert Belle in pretty good company. He’s among the very few starters out there who has a power number at 55. Here’s his list and you can see that Belle is hanging with some pretty good hitters.
Belle had his detractors due to his attitude, that is for sure. I was never one for hatin’ on Albert Belle and no doubt the man could hit. In fact, he followed up his ‘94 season with an even better one. In 1995, he cracked 50 homers and 52 doubles to along with 121 runs and 126 rbis, all league leaders.
As for ‘94, it’s tough to believe that he didn’t lead the league in any category except total bases with 294. A relatively low figure but remember, it was a strike shortened season. Belle, himself got in 106 of Cleveland’s 113 games.
Two 1s and 55-0 will get you far in any league. Belle also hit .357 which accounts for his 25-7. Add four 14s to the mix and you have twelve automatic on-base chances against any pitcher. Power, hitting, and on-base make for a deadly offense threat.
In 1993, Belle was a speed threat, too. He stole 23 bases then. He tapered it down to 9 thefts in ‘94 but that was enough for a first column 10 with a few 11s in the second column.
Belle retired early at the age of 34 because of a degenerative hip osteoarthritis. He has the distinction of homering in his first game of his career and his last.