The Bona Fide Legend of Cool Papa Bell

Speed, Grace, and the Negro Leagues


The first full biography of the star Negro Leaguer and Hall of Famer-now in paperback


ISBN: 9781419750496 Category:

Lonnie Wheeler


James “Cool Papa” Bell was a legend in Black baseball, a lightning fast switch hitter elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. Bell’s speed was extraordinary; as Satchel Paige famously quipped, he was so fast he could flip a light switch and be in bed before the room got dark.

In The Bona Fide Legend of Cool Papa Bell, experienced baseball writer and historian Lonnie Wheeler recounts the life of this extraordinary player, a key member of some of the greatest Negro League teams in history. Born to sharecroppers in Mississippi, Bell was part of the Great Migration, and in St. Louis, baseball saved Bell from a life working in slaughterhouses. Wheeler charts Bell’s ups and downs in life and in baseball, in the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico, where he went to escape American racism and MLB’s color line. Rich in context and suffused in myth, this is a treat for fans of baseball history.

Additional information

Weight 420 g
Dimensions 24.7 x 22.2 cm
Publisher name ABRAMS
Publication date 17 March 2022
Number of pages 352
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 24.7 x 22.2 cm
Weight 420 g


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “The Bona Fide Legend of Cool Papa Bell”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Lonnie Wheeler (1952–2020) was the author or coauthor of many books on baseball, including I Had a Hammer with Hank Aaron, Pitch by Pitch with Bob Gibson, Sixty Feet, Six Inches with Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson, Long Shot with Mike Piazza, Bleachers: A Summer in Wrigley Field, and Intangiball, winner of a 2016 SABR Baseball Research Award.