Those eight years (1979-85, '89) helped form an unknown connection between Bell and the late Shannon Stone, the Texas firefighter who passed away from injuries sustained in an accident at the Rangers Ballpark last July. Stone caught a foul ball from Bell, and Bell was present Thursday at the ceremony dedicating a full-size bronze statue of Stone and his 6-year-old son Cooper at the home plate gate.
Bell presented a signed jersey, bat and ball to Cooper, and then grew emotional in the White Sox dugout Friday when talking about the moment.
"Obviously, it was great to meet the family," said Bell, pausing a few times between sentences to compose his thoughts. "To meet Cooper, what a great kid. The [sculptor] did a great job on it. It's awesome.
"It's very touching. Really, really nice people. It's awful something like that had to happen. I'm sure time will help. I don't know. It's hard to talk about."
There were articles about the connection sent to Bell to make him aware. But it was White Sox vice president, communications Scott Reifert and senior director of community relations Christine O'Reilly who helped set him up with the family.