Twins bench coach Mike Bell dies at 46 after cancer battle; baseball world mourns

The baseball world expressed shock and sadness after learning that Twins bench coach Mike Bell died Friday at 46 after a bout with kidney cancer.

Bell was part of a three-generation baseball family: He, grandfather Gus, dad Buddy and brother David all played in the majors. Mike Bell spent close to three decades in the game as a player, executive, manager and coach. He joined Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli’s staff last season.

Three organizations with direct connections to Mike Bell offered tributes.

“The Minnesota Twins are devastated by the loss of Mike Bell,” the team said in its statement. “In his short time with our club, Mike had an indeliby positive impact — not only on the quality of our team on the field, but most importantly upon everyone whom he met. Widely respected in our game, all who knew Mike, on and off the field, are better for the experience.”

Minnesota decided to go ahead with its scheduled exhibition Friday night against the Braves.

The Diamondbacks selected Bell in the 1997 expansion draft but traded him to the Mets in February 1998. Bell joined the organization after his playing career ended and wound up working 13 years for the franchise, rising to director of player development.

The Reds and the Bell family have a deep ties. David Bell is the team’s current manager and Buddy Bell is a Reds vice president. Gus, Buddy and Mike Bell all played for the club.

“This great family blessed thousands of people over the 70 years it has devoted to our game,” Reds CEO Bob Castellini said in a statement. “We are honored that Mike, like his grandfather Gus, his father Buddy and brother David, wore a Reds uniform.”

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