Tuesday, December 1, 2009

#9 Bob Feller

Bob Feller was a phenom in the truest sense of the word. Raised on a farm in Iowa, his dad built a ballfield on the farmland so his 12-year old son could practice. Off to the American League after his junior year in high school, he struck out 17 New York Yankees at the age of 17.

Feller made the most of his 18 years with the Cleveland Indians, winning 266 games. He served with the navy in World War 2, missing almost 4 entire seasons from ages 23-26. He returned from the military, and in 1946 struck out 348 batters while winning 26 games. He pitched for the Indians throughout his entire career, retiring in 1956 at the age of 37.

Feller was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, and continued to work for the Indians until his death in December of 2010 at 92 years of age.

Want to see Feller's sweet wind-up?

Want to see Bob Feller's fastball get clocked by military instruments?
Petty Officer Heater

Want to see the movie reel from 1962, celebrating Feller and Jackie Robinson being elected into the Hall of Fame?
Jack and Bobbie
(I love the crack of the bat in these films. About as realistic of a sound as a punch in an action movie.)

Want to see 90-year old Bob Feller pitch to Paul Molitor in 2009?
Not-So-Rapid Robert and Molly

Okay... so the last one isn't all that great. But it did get him an offer from the Nationals.

The Autograph: Feller's autograph is one of the most abundant in sports. Year after year, Feller has done shows, public appearances, charity events. Reports are out that he has gotten a little cranky in recent years about signing, due to arthritis. As Bob Feller once told an interviewer, "If there is someone out there who does not have my autograph, then they must not want it."

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