Bell grateful for mom in MLB-rich family

White Sox assistant GM celebrates Joyce in honor of Mother's Day

CHICAGO -- The Bell family has three generations of Major League players running through its genealogy, from Gus (1950-64) to Buddy (1972-89) to David (1995-2006) and Mike (2000). They join the Hairston family (Sam, Jerry, Jerry Jr. and Scott), Coleman family (Joe, Joe and Casey) and Boone family (Ray, Bob, Bret and Aaron) as the only families to have such an achievement.

At the heart of the Bell family is Joyce, who is 85 and living a healthy, happy life in Cincinnati. Baseball might have been her family's avocation, but it wasn't really her passion as wife, mother and grandmother.

"She was sort of the calming influence on all of us," said Buddy Bell, an assistant general manager with the White Sox. "She knew about baseball, but it wasn't the most important thing to her that we got a hit or won a game. It was more about cleaning your room, getting to school on time, doing your homework and making sure you were good siblings.

"At the dinner table the conversation really never was about baseball, from what I can remember. It was always about school or friends or relatives. My dad had a lot to do with it. He never brought it home with him, so mom never really had to deal with it much in terms of attitude and things like that."

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Bell's mother has 47 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren, by Buddy's estimation. His three brothers and three sisters all live in the Cincinnati area, and Buddy makes the drive from Chicago to see her often.

"When things are going good [with the White Sox], I don't hear anything about baseball," said Buddy, who has 11 grandchildren of his own. "She knows what's going on. She doesn't really talk about it much.

"Any time I hear anything is when we are not doing so hot. So, she just wants to know how I'm doing or whatever. We need to win a game or this and that.

"You know, my brothers' and sisters' jobs were just as important," Bell said. "She didn't really make a big deal out of the baseball thing. She took care of us. She actually takes care of all of us. She's very independent."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.