The search is over for the Kansas City Royals. Buddy Bell was hired and introduced as their new manager at a press conference Kauffman Stadium Tuesday afternoon. Bell comes to Kansas City after entering his third season as the Indians bench coach. Bell, who played against the Royals in the 1970’s and 1980’s remembers the team as a proud franchise.
“The tradition of the Royals is a great thing,” Bell said, “and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Bell, who General Manager Allard Baird said was his first choice to replace Tony Pena, takes over a team with the worst record in baseball. The Royals are 13-37 and are already 20 ½ games out of first in the American League Central, but Bell’s coming into the job with positive thoughts.
“I’m impressed with the guys on the field. They’ve got some good young players and I want to be a part of turning this thing around,” said Bell. Despite the financial limitations the team is faced with, Bell indicated that the future in Kansas City can be bright, saying, “I would not be here today if I didn’t believe that we could be patient with this process.”
Tony Pena, who was named the Royals manager in 2002, suddenly resigned after a 3-1 loss in Toronto on May 10.
Bell beat out a list of candidates that included Jerry Manuel, Art Howe, Terry Collins and Royals bench coach Bob Schaeffer.
This marks his third stint as a major league manager. In 1996, he was hired as by the Detroit Tigers and fired after 137 games in the 1998 season. The Tigers were 161-185 under Bell. After sitting out the 1999 season, Bell was hired by the Rockies in 2000 and led Colorado to an 82-80 record—his only winning campaign. After going 73-89 in 2001, Bell was fired after leading the Rockies to a 6-16 start in 2002. He’s now ready to start the process of being a manager all over again.
“I’m looking forward to each and every day,” said Bell
His contract with the team will run through 2007. In 18 major league seasons with the Indians, Rangers, Reds and Astros Bell was a four time All-Star and won six Gold Gloves.