Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rapid Robert Feller Dead at 92

Bob Feller burning one in there.
His high kick was a trademark.
Bob Feller, a Hall of Fame pitcher who spent his whole career with the Cleveland Indians, lived a long and full life. He was one of the greatest right-handers in baseball history. Along with a devastating curve, he threw bb's. When 30 pitches of his were clocked in 1946, they averaged 98.6 mph.He died of leukemia today shortly after entering a hospice. He was 92 years old.

Feller is special to me. He was one of the greats of my Dad's generation. I actually remember him. My memory of Feller goes back to the early 1950s. They are admittedly hazy. But I recall him as a member of the 1954 Indians, a team that won 111 games on a 154-game schedule. By then he was overshadowed by the younger starters. But he had dominated the American League for about 15 years. Like many stars of the time, he lost a chunk of career while serving in the military during World War II. In his case it was three full years and the best part of another in his prime--often forgotten was that Feller as the first major leaguer to volunteer for the military after Pearl Harbor. He enlisted on December 8, 1941, the day after. Feller figured that lost time cost him about 1,000 strikeouts and 100 wins. I don't doubt it a minute, although his estimate on the number of wins may be a trifle optimistic.

Here is the New York Times story.

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