Bill Lee presents The Baseball Necrology - Live

My wife, LaVonne, and I spent a number of years researching the information that went into The Baseball Necrology, a book that was published by McFarland and Company, Publishers, in 2004. The intent of that research was to find what baseball players, whose playing careers are relatively short, did after their baseball careers. In most cases that information can only be found in obituaries. Consequently, our research became a “death” thing and was compounded when McFarland put the word “Necrology” into the title of the book. Thus, our research became a short abstract of obituaries (necrologies) for every player who had appeared in a major league game since 1876.

Since the book was published in 2004 baseball players have continued to die. From that time until the end of 2013 I continued to maintain current player’s deaths on this website that contains all the material in the book plus player’s deaths since the book was published. This website also contains photos of gravesite memorials for more than 2,000 players. An index to those player’s records that have gravesite photos may be found at

Sadly, the baseball necrology project came to a halt at the end of 2013 as more pressing projects, which had been put on the back burner, needed attention. So, with rare exception, short obituaries of every baseball player that ever appeared in a major league game since 1876 and had died prior to 2014 appears on this site. Just enter a player’s name, point, click and enjoy.

Bill Lee

Cool Papa  Bell

Born 17 May 1903 in Starkville
Died 7 Mar 1991 at the St Louis University Hospital in St Louis MO
Interred St Peter's Cemetery, Normandy MO. Location - Section 16, Block A, Lot 13. GPS Coordinates - N 38° 41.243' - W 90° 17.653'
Hall of Fame. Inducted 1974.

He played in the negro leagues. Said to be the fastest man to ever play baseball. One story says that when he turned the light out at night, he could be in bed before it got dark. Another story says that once, as he rounded second base, he was hit by a ball he had hit up the middle. After retiring from baseball he worked at the St Louis City Hall 21 years, first as a janitor and, later, as a security guard, retiring in 1973. Died after suffering a heart attack.

Last Updated 2 Dec 2010.

Photo by Bill Lee