The Chicago White Sox had a player in 1998 that didn’t get the shine he deserved but he was arguably better than some players who did get that shine.
The Chicago White Sox didn’t get love from the ESPN 30 For 30 movie “Long Gone Summer” for being the team that Sammy Sosa played for before moving on to the Chicago Cubs. That movie went over the home run chase between Sosa and Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals. It was an okay documentary but it is annoying to see some players who were better get much less spotlight.
Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas come to mind of course, but one who might not be as noticed even more is Albert Belle. Belle was playing in his second and last year with the Chicago White Sox in 1998 and he had an incredible year. Depending on what you find more important in terms of statistics, you can argue that Belle was even better than McGwire or Sosa in ’98.
Bell had an incredible slash line of .328/.399/.655 in ’98 at 31 years old. He didn’t have 70 or 66 home runs as McGwire or Sosa did but you can’t really ignore an impressive total of 49. He also chipped in 152 RBIs which was right there with the totals of Sosa and McGwire. He was just a much more well-rounded hitter than those two were as he didn’t only rely on power as the other two did at times.
Bell had a really nice career as well that was mostly spent with the Cleveland Indians before short tenures with the White Sox and Baltimore Orioles. He was a five-time Silver Slugger Award winner and also a five-time All-Star. He is short of being a Hall of Fame player as his WAR is at 40.1 with 381 home runs and 1239 RBIs but he was still a great player.
He had a really nice career, but his 1998 season definitely gets overshadowed because of what was going on around the league. It is annoying that these two cheaters get the spotlight but everyone knows at this point what was going on. Albert Belle was a great player and the White Sox got to have him for two good seasons.