There was no player more controversial in Major League Baseball during the mid-1990's than a certain slugger from the Cleveland Indians. But Father Time and fatherhood have caught up to Albert Belle.
The former slugger visited the Cleveland Indians spring training camp yesterday in Arizona -- his first visit with the Tribe since he skipped town for a big free agent payday in 1996.
Although Belle spent a good chunk of time talking about those great Indians teams of the early 1990's with Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga and Sandy Alomar Jr., he says parenting is his focus these days.
"I'm a stay-at-home dad," Belle told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I'm Mr. Mom. My wife and I have four girls. I waited until I was done playing to get married and settle down and start a family."
You may recall Belle made headlines for (among other things) whacking a guy in the face with a pingpong paddle, being fined $50,000 for getting into a dispute with NBC's Hannah Storm before a World Series game, and getting caught using a corked bat.
Since he retired, Belle has had legal issues, including in 2006 when he was arrested multiple times in Scottsdale, Ariz., and charged with stalking. Belle reportedly tracked his ex-girlfriend with a GPS device and repeatedly threatened her, as reported by the AP.
Belle, now 45, says he hasn't picked up a bat in more than 11 years.
"I'd rather pick up a golf club," he said.
A career .295 hitter with 381 homers and more than 1,200 RBIs, Belle left the Indians in 1995, signing a $55 million contract with the White Sox. He also played for the White Sox before his career ended after hip surgery in 2001.
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