Bona Fide Legend of Cool Papa Bell Speed, Grace, and the Negro Leagues
The Bona Fide Legend of Cool Papa Bell
Speed, Grace, and the Negro Leagues
  • Imprint: Abrams Press
  • Publication Date: February 9, 2021
  • Price: $28.00
  • Trim Size: 6 x 9
  • ISBN: 978-1-4197-5048-9
  • EAN: 9781419750489
  • Page Count: 352
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Rights: World/All
  • Additional formats:

The first full biography of the star Negro Leaguer and Hall of Famer

James “Cool Papa” Bell (1903–1991) was a legend in black baseball, a lightning fast switch hitter elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. Bell’s speed was extraordinary; as Satchel Paige famously quipped, he was so fast he could fl ip a light switch and be in bed before the room got dark.

In The Bona Fide Legend of Cool Papa Bell, experienced baseball writer and historian Lonnie Wheeler recounts the life of this extraordinary player, a key member of some of the greatest Negro League teams in history. Born to sharecroppers in Mississippi, Bell was part of the Great Migration, and in St. Louis, baseball saved Bell from a life working in slaughterhouses. Wheeler charts Bell’s ups and downs in life and in baseball, in the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico, where he went to escape American racism and MLB’s color line. Rich in context and suffused in myth, this is a treat for fans of baseball history.

About the author

Lonnie Wheeler (1952-2020) was the author or co-author of many books on baseball including I Had a Hammer with Hank Aaron, Pitch by Pitch with Bob Gibson, Sixty Feet, Six Inches, with Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson, Long Shot with Mike Piazza, Bleachers: A Summer in Wrigley Field, and Intangiball, winner of a 2016 SABR Baseball Research Award.