Up until yesterday, it was a record that had stood for nearly 23 years. It was something that was so prolific in Blue Jays history, it felt like nobody would ever even come close to matching it.
Of course, I’m talking about George Bell’s 47 home run season in 1987: this week’s feature on Acid Flashback Friday.
By no means am I trying to discount what George Bell did back in 1987. It’s just that Jose Bautista made 50 home runs look effortless, but Bell had to fight his way tooth and nail to 47 home runs.
One of the obstacles George Bell had to overcome was hitting in Exhibition Stadium. Personally, I’m not familiar whether it was a hitter-friendly park or not, but I imagine those winds off Lake Erie Ontario didn’t help the ball carry over the fence. That’s evident by his 19 home runs hit at Exhibition Stadium compared to 28 hit on the road.
Also, Bell was single handedly trying to keep the Blue Jays offense afloat the final weeks of the season as the team was decimated with injuries to starters like Tony Fernandez and Ernie Whitt.
He had a phenomenal first half of the season with 29 home runs by the All-Star break, but like most players he lost momentum in the second half and hit 18 home runs the rest of the way. In fact, George Bell was held homer-less in his final 40 at bats of the 1987 season.
George Bell and Jose Bautista may be fellow countrymen from the Dominican Republic, and now they have something else in common: they are the top two single season home run leaders in Blue Jays history.
I’m sure it’s tough for George Bell to see that broken record after holding that title for 23 years, but I’m sure there’s nobody he’d rather have break it than Jose Bautista.
George Bell’s MVP season still lives on as one of the biggest by any player who has ever donned a Blue Jays uniform, and those 47 home runs in 1987 won’t soon be forgotten.