Regarded as perhaps the fastest man to ever play the game, stories about Cool Papa Bell’s speed on the basepaths are legendary. Satchel Paige once said he gave up a hit to Bell and by the time he turned around Bell was already sliding into second base. While this story may sound outlandish, many other tales of Bell’s speed echo the sentiment (including scoring from first on a bunt against major leaguer Bob Lemon in an exhibition game).
Cool Papa’s talent wasn’t limited to just speed as he consistently batted over .300 and winning a number of Negro League batting titles.
Bell played in the Negro Leagues from 1922 to 1946, ending his career just one year prior to Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in the major leagues.
One of the great all-time Negro League players (as well as one of the best nicknames ever), Cool Papa Bell is easily an Immortal.
For some background on what this is, check out the introduction post here.