MINNEAPOLIS -- Buddy Bell chose family over baseball on
Wednesday, resigning as manager of the last-place Kansas City Royals effective at the end of the season.
An emotional Bell, who will turn 56 on Aug. 27, announced the
decision before Kansas City's game against the Minnesota Twins. He will join the Royals' front office in 2008 as a senior adviser to general manager Dayton Moore.
"I had to make a choice between managing and my family, and to me that's a no-brainer," said Bell, who spoke to Moore earlier in
the season about leaving the team.
"There are some things I want to do in my life right now, and
that's spending time with my family and with my daughter, in particular," Bell said.
His daughter Traci was born with Down syndrome, and Bell said he wants to spend more time with his growing number of grandchildren.
Bell said health concerns also played a part in his decision.
Last September, he had surgery to remove a cancerous growth in his
The announcement comes as the Royals -- who beat the Twins 5-3 in 10 innings Wednesday night -- are showing signs of hope after two straight winning months. It was the first time they've had two
straight winning months in four seasons.
The frugal franchise opened its checkbook in the offseason,
signing right-hander Gil Meche to a five-year, $55 million contract and reliever Octavio Dotel -- who was traded to Atlanta for starter Kyle Davies on Tuesday -- to a $5 million, one-year deal.
There are also promising young bats in the lineup, but it has
not been nearly enough for a team that has lost 100 or more games
in four its last five seasons. The Royals, who haven't reached the
postseason since 1985, are 48-59 and tied with the Chicago White
Sox for last in the AL Central.
Bell was hired by former general manager Allard Baird to replace Tony Pena on May 31, 2005. The team went on to finish a
franchise-worst 56-106, then went 62-100 last season -- costing
Baird his job.
Moore was hired in the middle of the season, and began making sweeping changes to the front office. Many thought he would also
make a change in managers, but he and Bell have had an amicable relationship and Bell insisted he is leaving on his own terms.
A five-time All-Star in an 18-year career, Bell said he planned
to move to Cincinnati while continuing to work for the Royals organization. "I'm still going to be a part of what the Royals are all about," he said.
Bell managed the Detroit Tigers from 1996-98 and the Colorado Rockies from 2000-02, and has a career managerial record of
498-690. With a 153-228 record as Royals manager, Bell holds the
worst winning percentage among full-time managers in team history.
It's not surprising that the lifelong baseball man plans to
remain involved in the game. His father, Gus, played 15 seasons in
the majors, and his three sons -- David, Michael and Ricky -- all
Second baseman Mark Grudzielanek said he was surprised by Bell's announcement.
"It seems like he still has a lot left in the tank, but there
are family reasons he has for moving on," Grudzielanek said.
"It's going to be huge to keep him around," he added, alluding
to the team's recent success. "With the young group we have here,
just the way he goes about his business in spring training and
during the season, he's been a big part of it."
Outfielder David DeJesus said he hopes Bell's resignation, with
two months left in the season, will not become a distraction. Moore
declined to discuss candidates who could replace Bell, saying only
that the team would begin a thorough search.
"We've got a long way to go this year and we need to go out
there and not let this bother us," DeJesus said. "He's going to
be our manager still so all we can do is go out there and keep
playing the way we've been playing."