James “Cool Papa” Bell (center) poses with an oversized bat, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn (left) and Monte Irvin, in 1974 after Bell was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Negro league Committee. Irvin was inducted the year before.
In 1984 Negro League pitcher Chet Brewer said of Bell’s legendary speed:
“In Mexico, he was on the same team that I was on. The first game that he played in, he was on first base and the next hitter hit a ball into right field. Cool Papa went into third base so fast that they stopped the game and said he cut across behind the pitcher. The said, ‘it’s impossible, no pasaria, it just couldn’t happen. Nobody could go from first to third that fast.”