James Thomas “Cool Papa” Bell now has a permanent section of honor at Dudy Noble Field.

One of the greatest baseball players of all time and Starkville’s own, Bell was honored with the dedication of “Cool Papa” Bell Plaza inside Mississippi State’s Dudy Noble Field on Thursday before the game against Missouri.

The dedication of “Cool Papa” Bell Plaza and the plaque noting the life and career of Bell is a joint project between MSU athletics and the University’s Student Association, according to the school. Several dignitaries were on hand, including MSU director of athletics John Cohen, Starkville mayor Lynn Spruill, Student Association vice president Kennedy Guest and Bell’s cousin Allen Landfair.

One of the pioneers of modern day base running, Bell’s career in professional baseball spanned 28 years as a player, coach and professional scout, and his baserunning style changed the way the game was played. The switch-hitting center fielder was a part of some of the most feared teams in professional baseball, winning three championships each with the St. Louis Stars, Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords of the Negro Leagues.