Topps vs. the estate of Cool Papa Bell has apparently cooled considerably.
Topps has announced that it reached a financial settlement with the daughter of Negro Leagues Hall of Famer James "Cool Papa" Bell.
Bell’s family sued Topps in 2006 after the company released cards picturing him in some of its products. Bell’s daughter Connie Brooks claimed Topps did not have the right to produce the cards. She was equally upset about one statement on the back of a card stating that Bell’s nickname of ‘Cool Papa’ had been obtained because he "used to fall asleep before games".
Brooks claimed in court papers that the factoid was a "bogus, painful lie". While the courts have sided with Topps thus far, the company decided to settle the issue with the Bell descendants. While no terms were announced, Topps did issue a statement admitting it "mischaracterized" how Bell obtained his nickname.
"Mr. Bell earned the nickname "Cool" from his teammates, for remaining calm under pressure as a rookie pitcher with the St. Louis Stars. The manager of the St. Louis Stars at the time, Bill Gatewood, added "Papa" to the end of the nickname," Topps stated.
The news release also praised Bell’s contributions to the game.
"Cool Papa Bell is more than a baseball legend," said Warren Friss, Vice President-General Manager Entertainment of Topps. "He endured the overwhelming injustices of his time to play the game he loved, and his professionalism and dedication to excellence ultimately helped pave the way for the integration of the major leagues. Topps truly respects and honors the legacy of Cool Papa Bell. Topps sincerely apologizes to Ms. Brooks and is pleased to have reached a satisfactory agreement with Ms. Brooks to resolve this lawsuit."
Topps boxes on eBay now