White Sox fans can thank an observant doorman for Albert Belle's incredible second half of the 1998 season. Yup, Belle himself says on the White Sox Talk Podcast that his incredible stretch run is all thanks to a Michigan Ave. hotel employee.
"During the All-Star break-- and I was glad I didn't make the All-Star team because I needed the three-days rest," Belle told Chuck Garfien on the White Sox Talk Podcast. "On one of those off days, I was walking down by the Miracle Mile street, and there was a bellman at one of the hotels-- I think it was the Hilton-- when I walked by he said, ‘Hey Albert, how are you doing?' He was an older gentleman and he was a big White Sox fan, ‘Can you do me a favor?'
"And I was like, ‘Yeah, sure.'
"He says, ‘Can you choke up a half inch on the bat?'
"I was like, ‘Ok, I'll give it a try.'"
Belle says he wasted no time putting the unsolicited tip to work.
"That first game back from the All-Star break, I choked up on the bat half an inch," Belle said. "I think we were playing the Twins, and I put together a pretty good series, and I was like, ‘Oh, ok!'
"I feel like when I choked up that half inch I was able to get to a lot of inside pitches that I was getting beat on in the first half. I was able to get to the ball a little bit quicker, keep those balls fair, and get a bunch of base hits.
"I don't remember the gentleman's name, but I give him the credit for that little batting tip."
So Internet detectives, if you know anyone who worked the door at the Hilton hotel in the summer of 1998, pass along the gratitude for an incredible end to the 1998 season.
Ex-White Sox Albert Belle thanks Chicago doorman for incredible 1998 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago