FanPost

History Lesson: Albert Belle

I have to be totally honest here and say that my memories of anything about the White Sox before the turn of the millenium is vague, at best.  I have vague recollections of being an extremely shy ten (?) year old, hanging over new Comiskey's long-and-deep bullpens, watching my mom and dad converse with a distant relative (my mom's third cousin, IIRC).

Anyways -- because of my 'lack of information' about the 1990s White Sox, I want to know about Albert Belle.  What was the contract that he signed?  I see he was here only two years -- was it really just a 2/$20 contract, did he opt out, or did the Sox (somehow) opt out?  Was there deferred money on the contract?  How was he in a Sox uniform, both on and off the field?  

I look at the baseball-reference's page for Belle and see he gave the Sox an average year (for a RFer) in 1997 but, in 1998, gave the Sox one of the top season's that Chicago has ever seen.  I mean, I look at that second half of '98 and can't remember anyone putting up better numbers over half a season --  .387/.451/.816.  Maybe Bonds had a better half-season than that, but the point still remains -- that was one unbelievable offensive season.  

Yet all I (usually) hear about Belle's short career in a White Sox uniform has a negative slant.  Did he leave on bad terms (/note -- I just found out the reason he left on Wikipedia, so I see the Top 3 clause, but I'm still semi-confused...  Can somebody clarify?)?  Was the criticism unjustified, perhaps paralleling the Frank Thomas criticism -- ie, while the individual himself was tearing the cover off the ball, the team was teetering around .500, thus leading to blame of the team's superstar?

Any and all info is appreciated.

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