The great Bob Feller was born on this day in 1918. Bob Feller died in 2010 at the age of 92.
Ten Notes on Bob Feller
1. Bob Feller pitched his entire career with the Cleveland Indians. 1936-1956. He missed three seasons-1942-43-44 and all but a month of 1945 because of World War II.
2. Bob Feller had a career record of 266-162 with an ERA of 3.25. He was an 8 time All-Star. He was a key member of the last Cleveland Indians World Championship team in 1948. He pitched three no-hitters during his career. One of Bob Rapid’s no -hitters was on the Opening Day of the season.
3. Bob Feller enlisted in the U.S. Navy two days after the United States was bombed at Pearl Harbor. He was the first American professional athlete to enlist. Feller never complained about missing what would have probably been his greatest seasons [he missed playing his prime seasons age 24-27} You look at his career record as it stands and I think you could add 100 wins to his career if not for WWII.
4. Bob Feller had a few nicknames-Rabid Robert, The Heater From Van Meter, Bullet Bob. My favourite is what Satchel Paige called him “Bob Rapid”
5. Bob Feller had a way of pissing people off his entire life. He said what he thought and didn’t care to be politically correct. He was in the news now and then because of some comments he made. I didn’t always agree with old Bob but I was always glad there was someone out there saying what he thought and not caring what anyone thought about it.
6. Bob Feller grew up on a farm in Van Meter, Iowa. His father was always working with him, making him into a pitcher. His father cleared 20 acres of trees and made a ballpark on the family farm. The Feller farm is listed on the National Register of historic places.
7. Bob Feller threw hard. He was one of the fastest pitchers ever. He was a teen phenom. The Indians signed him for one dollar and an autographed baseball. He bypassed the minor and at age 17 made his major league debut. At the age of 18 he was on the cover of Time Magazine. Ted Williams said of Bob Feller “He was fastest and best pitcher I saw during my career. He had the best fastball and curveball that I’ve ever seen” High praise coming from the greatest hitter who ever lived.
8. Not long before his death I read a story where Feller said he probably threw a baseball more than anyone in history. He was still throwing every day late into his life. He loved baseball. Most of the great players once they are done playing the only time you see them at a ballgame is at Old Timers Day or if they are being honored. Bob Feller loved baseball and the Indians he was regularly going to ballgames all his life.
9. Bob Feller led the American League in wins 6 times and in strikeouts 7 times. His #19 of course is retired. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility 1962.
10 Bob Feller was the first President of the Players Association and one of the first players to suggest free agency for players.