Bell, Boone rekindle shared history over first pitch

April 6th, 2024

CINCINNATI -- and have always had a lot in common. They came up to the Majors as infielders. They played with intensity and a deep appreciation of the game. They played together on the 2001 Seattle Mariners that set the modern AL/NL record for most regular season wins with 116.

“We became good friends,” Bell said before managing Saturday’s game against the Mets. “It was a lot of fun playing with Bret. He was a great player, especially during those years. He had just huge seasons and that whole team was really close.”

And, of course, they were third-generation Major League descendants with family roots firmly entrenched in Cincinnati.

Bell’s grandfather Gus, (who is his namesake) was a four-time All-Star cornerstone of the Reds for nine years from 1953-61. David’s father, Buddy, starred at Archbishop Moeller High School before moving onto the Majors for 18 seasons -- where he played for the Indians, Rangers, Astros and Reds (1985-88).

“I got to be good friends with Bret for sure,” Bell said. “And I've stayed in touch with him. And I think the history, there are the similarities with how we grew up.

“It was nice playing with someone else that had a similar background. So we definitely shared that."

Boone’s grandfather, Ray, was a two-time All-Star infielder with Detroit in the 1950s. Ray’s son, Bob, was an All-Star catcher with the Angels, Royals and Phillies, who helped lead Philadelphia to its first World Series title in 1980.

After managing Kansas City for parts of three seasons, Bob was hired to manage the Reds in 2001 and was the skipper in Cincinnati through July 2003. Bob’s sons, Aaron and Bret, both reached the Majors -- with Aaron starring for the Reds and Yankees.

That brings us to Saturday, where Bret threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Bell. Boone, the three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove second baseman who hit 70 home runs with a .728 OPS in five seasons for Cincinnati, was in town signing at the Reds Hall of Fame on Saturday.

“He was a lot of fun to play with,” Bell said. “So yeah, we had a good time and it's great to see him. I think this is the first time I've seen him [in] several years, so it'd be an honor to catch the first pitch.”