Bob Bell entertained kids throughout Chicago as "Bozo the Clown" on WGN-TV from 1960-1984.
Bell, who passed away in 1997, has been a source of inspiration for a member of the Cincinnati Reds as he tries to stick in the big-leagues for the first time in nearly three years.
Trevor Bell, the grandson of Bob Bell, was a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Angels in 2005, and after never living up to his first-round billing, is trying to break camp with the Reds after signing a minor-league deal with the club in 2013.
Bell is hardly ever seen without a smile on his face, which isn't a coincidence as it's in his bloodlines. He has a portrait of his grandfather tattooed on his left arm and another tattoo of a pair of clown shoes with the words, "The shoes will never be filled." Bell saw how hard his grandfather worked each day and uses it in his craft on the mound.
"He did it for 25 years straight -- if I could play baseball for 25 years, that'd be incredible," Bell told Trent Rosecrans of Cincinnati.com. "It'd take him three-and-a-half hours to put his makeup on every day. He'd be up at 3:30 in the morning putting on his makeup and he did it for the kids, and that's all he did it for. He did it to lighten kids' days, it was something that was totally selfless. It's a lost thing nowadays in the arts. It's still lost in the arts. As far as acting, baseball, it's keeping those things alive."
Bell was last in camp with the Detroit Tigers in 2013, but was released by the club shortly after spring training. In three major-league seasons he has a 4-8 record with a 5.21 ERA.
And if Bell makes the Reds 25-man roster, he could get a shot at performing in the same city his grandfather entertained thousands. But don't expect him to get a warm welcome if he graces the mound at Wrigley Field.