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Albert Belle

Albert Jojuan Belle (born August 26, 1965) is a former American Major League Baseball outfielder for the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, and Baltimore Orioles. One of the leading sluggers of his time, in 1995 he became the first player to hit 50 doubles and 50 home runs in a single season.
Belle was also considered a model of consistency, compiling a .295 career batting average, averaging 37 home runs and 120 RBI a season over the ten main years of his major league career from 1991 to 2000. Belle is also one of only six players in major league history to have nine consecutive 100-RBI seasons. However, his combative personality combined with occasional angry outbursts created a reputation for surliness that often overshadowed his on-field hitting performance
Belle became the fourth player to have eight straight seasons of 30 home runs and 100 RBI, joining Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig. He was a mediocre fielder, but a somewhat effective base stealer, with a career high of 23 steals in 1993, and a surprising 17 steals in 1999 despite hip problems. Belle led the league three times in RBI, three times in total bases, three times in extra-base hits, and twice in slugging. He was a five-time All-Star between 1993 and 1997. Remarkably, Albert Belle's career highs in home runs, RBI, batting average, runs scored, and walks occurred in five separate seasons.
In 1994, he lost the batting title to the New York Yankees' similarly volcanic outfielder Paul O'Neill, .359 to .357. Belle's postseason record was limited to two heavy-hitting appearances, in which only his batting average suffered: he hit .230/.405/.557 with six home runs and 14 RBIs in 61 at-bats. In 1995, Belle became the first player in the history of the major leagues to hit 50 homers and 50 doubles in the same season: the last player to reach 40 in both those categories in a season was Willie Stargell in 1973.
His reputation, and more specifically his disdain of the media, almost certainly cost him the 1995 MVP Award; Belle finished second in the media voting to the Boston Red Sox's Mo Vaughn. This result occurred despite his having led the American League that season in runs scored, home runs, RBI, slugging percentage, and total bases, and despite his outpacing Vaughn head-to-head in every important offensive category except RBI (both men had 126). This was in the middle of a three-year streak in which Albert Belle finished 3rd, 2nd, and 3rd for the American League MVP. Belle had two other top ten MVP finishes, in 1993 (7th) and 1998 (8th). In the winter of 1996, Belle signed with the Chicago White Sox as a free agent, which made him the highest paid player in baseball for a brief period. While with the White Sox Belle enjoyed two great seasons that included a career high 27 game hitting streak from May 3-June 1, 1997, a selection to the MLB All-Star team in 1997, and his 300th career home run. Additionally, when Cal Ripken ended his record consecutive game streak in September 1998, it was Belle who took over as the major league's active leader in the category. Belle also came close to having another 50/50 season in 1998 with 49 home runs and 48 doubles.
In October 1998, Belle filed for free agency after the White Sox neglected to give him a raise. His contract had a unique clause allowing him to demand that he would remain one of the 3 highest paid players in baseball. He again became the game's highest paid player, signing a five-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles. Unfortunately for him and his new team, Belle ended his career just two seasons later, retiring at age 34 as a result of degenerative osteoarthritis in his hip. However, he was kept on Baltimore's active 40-man roster for the next three years, as a condition of the insurance policy which largely reimbursed the Orioles for the remainder of Belle's contract. Albert Belle homered in the final at-bat of his major-league career on October 1, 2000.

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