Reds devastated by loss of Mike Bell

Manager's brother was Cincinnati native, began career with hometown club

March 26th, 2021

The Reds and the Diamondbacks played Friday's Cactus League game with heavy hearts after receiving news that Cincinnati native and Twins bench coach Mike Bell died at the age of 46 because of complications from kidney cancer. Bell had ties to both organizations.

A third-generation Major Leaguer, Bell was the grandson of Reds great Gus Bell, the son of Reds vice president and senior advisor Buddy Bell and the brother of Reds manager David Bell.

David Bell left Reds camp to be with his family. Bench coach Freddie Benavides filled in as the acting manager for the game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz., and will be at the helm through the weekend.

"Our Reds family is overwhelmed with sadness for the Bells as they mourn the loss of Mike,” Reds CEO Bob Castellini said in a statement. “This great baseball family blessed thousands of people over the 70 years it has devoted to our game. We are honored that Mike, like his grandfather Gus, his father Buddy, and brother David, wore a Reds uniform. Our hearts and support go out to Buddy, David and their families.”

The Twins announced last month that Mike Bell had been diagnosed with kidney cancer during the offseason and had undergone a surgical procedure in January. Bell was not with the Twins this spring and instead spent his final months with his family at his home in Arizona.

Minnesota hired Bell as manager Rocco Baldelli’s bench coach before last season after he spent 13 years with Arizona on the player development side.

“That’s always tough, it’s never easy,” Reds pitcher Wade Miley said. “My thoughts and prayers go out to that family, David and Buddy. I actually played for Mike in Arizona and was around Mike for four, five years. Incredible human being. He taught me how to grow up in this game. Nothing but love and thanks for what he contributed in my career early on. It’s just tough. You lose anybody you’re close to, anybody at all, it makes things tough. We’re going to be there for David and try to get through this the best we can.”

David Bell connected with Baldelli and told him the Bell family wanted the Twins to play their Friday night Spring Training game as scheduled. Minnesota agreed and planned to play in Mike’s honor. The Bell family also asked that the Reds and D-backs play their game.

“It’s very hard," Benavides said. "There’s just a long tradition here with the Bell family in Cincinnati. It’s heartbreaking for the family and the organization in general. All of our hearts and condolences go out to David, Buddy, Mike and his family. He addressed the team here before the game. It’s tough. It’s been very hard.”

Both David and Mike Bell graduated from Archbishop Moeller High School in suburban Cincinnati. Mike was a 30th-round pick of the Rangers in the 1993 Draft and debuted in the Major Leagues with 19 games for the Reds in 2000.