Umpiring is the one element of baseball that is the least rewarding to the most well known. By calling out names of umpires, such as Angel Hernandez and CB Bucknor, we are usually calling them out for the bad job they have done. Even Jim Joyce, who has been judged as one of the best umpires in all of baseball, became a household name based on a blown call. Joe West and Bob Davidson think the paid crowd at a baseball game come to see them perform. That would never describe Bell, as his name would seldom be mentioned during the duration of a baseball broadcast. Was he perfect? No, but no umpires are.
Bell was the home plate umpire in the Mets/ Braves September 21, 2001 game. Of course, that was the first sporting event in New York City since the September 11 attacks of the World Trade Center. Bell favored the hitters, including Mike Piazza, particularly the inning of Piazza's home run. He would wind up ejecting Braves RHP Steve Karsay, who gave up Piazza's HR, for arguing balls and strikes. Unofficially, Bell had 44 ejections in his 21 MLB seasons (40 through 2011, plus two each in 2012 and 2013). In regards to MLB average, that is about 25% below the average for a MLB umpire. Generally, umpires that make more mistakes end up ejecting more players. Not the case with Bell, who managed to stay out of the spotlight.
I remember watching a Mets game in 1992. It was stated that one of the umpires was a guy by the name of Wally Bell, in his first MLB season. Something for whatever reason I will not forget. He went to the same umpiring school as Brian O'Nora, who is a current MLB umpire. Like I said, Bell may not have been perfect, but he managed to get the big calls right. Umpires continue to make a name for themselves by missing obvious calls that determine games. Umpires continue to act like law enforcement, like they are above the game. That was not Wally Bell's style, as well as part of the reason few knew him by name as a MLB umpire. I hope several current and future umpires look at Wally Bell as an example. Nobody needs to know your name in baseball; it is a sign you do your job correctly. Good umpires do not have their names blasted on TV and in print. Perfect description of Wally Bell.