8.24.2009

Jay Bell, 1993 Upper Deck checklist

Names: Jay Bell, William "Blackheart" Bell
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates, the S.S. Horror of the Atlantic
Positions: Second base, captain
Value of card: Three gold doubloons
Key 1992 stat: One eye patch worn
Avast, me hearties: When Upper Deck approached Jay Bell about being on a pirate-themed, illustrated card for their 1993 set, Bell jumped at the chance. While the motif was originally meant to play on the Pittsburgh mascot, Bell instead pitched a portrait of himself and his great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Capt. William "Blackheart" Bell, leader of the pirate ship Horror of the Atlantic. Family history had it that his ancestor had actually invented the game of baseball back in 1713 while on board his feared vessel. Blackheart was reputed to remove the hook he used for a hand, replace it with a wooden bat and hit oranges in the air for his crew to catch. The game eventually evolved to the point where a chalk diamond was drawn on the poop deck, parrots were used as bases and the winning team was helped to an extra serving of grog. Upper Deck refused to print any of Bell's rantings about this seafaring pastime, despite the man's insistence that it was his ancestor, not Hank Aaron, who was the all-time leader in Arrrrr-BIs.
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