I'm curious about Jeff King and Jay Bell, who came over from Pittsburgh in the late 1990s. Where have they ended up?
-- Heath K., Houston
Shortstop Bell and first baseman King were obtained in a deal on Dec. 13, 1996, that sent third baseman Joe Randa and pitchers Jeff Granger, Jeff Martin and Jeff Wallace to the Pirates. Bell was with the Royals for one season, hit .291, became a free agent and signed with Arizona. King banged a total of 52 homers in 1997-98 for the Royals and, on May 21, 1999, abruptly retired.
Bell played through 2003 and later served as bench coach for the Diamondbacks. He stepped down after 2006 to spend more time with his family, but remains a special assistant to manager Bob Melvin.The last we heard of the reclusive King, he was living happily with his family on his ranch in Montana.
We bring this up for three reasons:
- We had absolutely no interest in Jeff King or Jay Bell, in fact haven't thought about them for years.
- If not for the patently bland response and the 50-50 split on pre-retirement and post-retirement information, as if just to take up space -- especially considering the questioner was asking exclusively about post-retirement -- we could've sworn Kaegel made up the question himself.
- We just realized how incredibly desperate Mr. Kaegel is for fan questions.
In light of that, here's the link again for the query form. You should really ask away. Where'd Bip Roberts end up? Why does Sal Fasano get to appear in Time magazine? Is Rowdy Hardy named after the pro wrestler best known for choking out Hulk Hogan at StarrCade '06, giving the Hulkster his first clean loss in six-and-a-half years? Et cetera. Go help out a hard-working journalist and you can consider your good deed of the month done.
UPDATE: The subhead on the article: "Beat reporter Dick Kaegel answers fans' burning questions." Goddamnit, if I don't find out about the whereabouts of Jeff King and Jay Bell, I'm going to shoot myself!