Bell discovers more to life than managing, winning games Wife's throat cancer demands his attention

February 26, 1997|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The problems of the struggling Detroit Tigers only amount to so much for manager Buddy Bell, whose perspective on baseball -- and life -- has been tempered by the serious illness of his wife.

Gloria Bell was recently found to have a form of throat cancer and is undergoing regular radiation treatments back home in Cincinnati. Bell has told the Tigers that he will leave the team periodically to spend more time with her.

"When something like this happens, it puts things in perspective in a hurry," Bell said. "I've always had pretty good perspective, but I think there are things that happen in your life that make you step back and look at things a little clearer.

"My job is important. My family is important. I'm real lucky to have a passion for both. "

He arrived at spring training last week and likely will stay for a couple of weeks before making his first trip home.

"I think it's therapeutic for me to be here and for Gloria as well," Bell said. "She has had to deal with me all winter. I don't know if she wanted to deal with me all spring."

She must undergo radiation treatments five times per week for seven weeks, but doctors at University Hospital in Cincinnati give her an 85 percent chance for a full recovery.

"You never get the odds you want," Bell said, "but they've given us some pretty good ones. I'm optimistic. I feel pretty good about everything working out. Gloria does, too."

Pub Date: 2/26/97

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