At the end of my interview with Feller, we went upstairs to the museum. Feller's throw was calculated at the time to have reached 98.6 mph (158.7 km/h), and later 104 mph (167 km/h) using updated measuring methods. In August 2010, Feller was treated for leukemia. [84] Feller was treated for leukemia in August 2010. “I hoist up my pants from my old Indian days,” Feller said, “so my pant legs rise above my knees. Five days later, he married Virginia Winther, whom he had met while in Florida for spring training; she was a student at Rollins College. [70][80] He was also one of the first players to work for the right of a player to enter free agency. But, Bob transcended more than that era. As a result, Feller did not have to take off-season jobs to make ends meet, like many players of his era did, which allowed Feller to become a physical fitness pioneer. There were a lot of better black ballplayers than Jackie Robinson," said Feller. Hall of Famer Ted Lyons recalled It wasn't until you hit against him that you knew how fast he really was, until you saw with your own eyes that ball jumping at you. [28] Originally he tried to enlist as a fighter pilot but failed hearing tests. Robert William Andrew Feller (November 3, 1918 – December 15, 2010), nicknamed "The Heater from Van Meter", "Bullet Bob", and "Rapid Robert", was an American baseball pitcher who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cleveland Indians. [88], The Bob Feller Museum opened in Van Meter, Iowa, on June 10, 1995. I feel pretty sure Mr. Alva Bradley, president of the Indians, will admit this is the cheapest investment he ever made in publicity."[7]. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Feller was the first major leaguer to enlist in the military. [8] Feller proceeded to go 10–3 for the remainder of his appearances to finish the season with a record of 19–15, a league-leading 164 strikeouts, and a 3.56 ERA. Ted Williams said, "Three days before he pitched I would start thinking about Robert Feller, Bob Feller. Feller credited his arm strength and ball speed to milking cows, picking corn, and baling hay. He was married to … "[11] Feller appeared in the May 12, 1941, edition of Life, which said: "... he is unquestionably the idol of several generations of Americans, ranging in age from 7 to 70. [51] Along with Early Wynn and Mike Garcia, Feller reached the 20-win mark during the season; they were the first trio of pitchers on the same staff to earn 20 wins since 1931. There was absolutely nothing to it. [2]:20, A student at Van Meter High School, Feller was a starting pitcher for the school's baseball team. Feller seems in fine shape. Feller is the camp commissioner at the Cleveland Indians Fantasy Camp held every January at the Indians spring training facility in Winter Haven, Florida. Greenberg said, "Feller's curve was jumping wickedly and with that and his fast ball, he was murder. His six-foot frame and a husky upper body make him seem powerful enough to rear back and fire his fastball. In retirement, he lived with his wife, Anne Feller, in Gates Mills, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. Legends of the Ball, Written by Dennis Hoffman. Today, the 88-year-old Feller has outlived most of his former Cleveland Indians teammates and most of his schoolmates from Van Meter’s class of 1937. Designed by Feller's son Stephen, on land donated by Brenton Banks,[89] the museum has two rooms that contain Feller memorabilia and items from his own collection. In the eighth inning, Feller and Boudreau appeared to have picked off the Braves' Phil Masi as he attempted to steal a base, but umpire Bill Stewart ruled he was safe. [25] Feller also led the majors with 31 complete games and 320.1 innings pitched, and won the Sporting News Player of the Year Award. 1947), and Bruce (b.1950). I didn't know then that he was smart and had the heart of a lion, but I knew that I was looking at an arm the likes of which you see only once in a lifetime." When he was 17 years of age, he struck out 17 batters; he and Kerry Wood are the only two players ever to strike out their age (Wood struck out 20 on May 6, 1998). In June 2009, at the age of 90, Feller was one of the starting pitchers at the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame Classic, which replaces the Hall of Fame Game at Cooperstown, New York. He became the first pitcher to win at least twenty games in a season before the age of 21, threw three no-hitters and twelve one-hitters (both records at the time of his retirement), led the American League in strikeouts in seven seasons, and pitched 279 complete games. [2]:69[13][14] In mid-May, the Indians considered ending Feller's season early. [5]:67 The 35-year-old Feller finished 13–3 on the year, earning his 250th pitching victory in a May 23 win and his 2,500th career strikeout in a win on June 12. "[39] At one point during the season (as Feller thought he might be nearing Rube Waddell's AL record for strikeouts), Feller confirmed Waddell's record of 344 strikeouts with the AL office as opposed to 349. He helped the Indians win a World Series title in 1948 and an American League-record 111 wins and the pennant in 1954. [75] Each year, American Legion Baseball presents the "Bob Feller Pitching Award" to the pitcher "with the most strikeouts in regional and national competition. [85] By October, Feller was fitted with a pacemaker and was diagnosed with pneumonia and thrush, an infection of the mucous membrane lining the mouth and throat. I would have to come to the decision I am making now, some time. He spent April and May healing the arm, and in May graduated from high school; the ceremony aired nationally on NBC Radio. The former farm boy from Van Meter is aging as gracefully as he used to pitch. [67] Feller said he would donate his profits from playing in the Cuban winter league to the American Major League players' pension fund: "I want to prove I'm not going to Cuba for any selfish interest but because there is a principle involved and that is the right of any ball player to work at his chosen profession". [5]:64 Throughout the year, players noted that his velocity had returned, and, winning games with finesse rather than power, he was again effective. [16], On October 2, 1938, Feller was the starting pitcher against the Detroit Tigers. There is footage of Feller being clocked by army ordnance equipment (used to measure artillery shell velocity) and hitting 98.6. In fact, he offered to take more than the 25 per cent maximum pay cut allowed. "[17] Feller did not earn a win, however, as the Indians lost, 4–1. The Picnic Pavilion behind the third base stands is Feller’s hang out during spring training. He ended his career with 266 victories and 2,581 strikeouts and led the American League in strikeouts seven times and bases on balls four times. Feller struggled for the rest of the season, and after an argument with an umpire over a strike call in late August, manager Al López shut Feller down for the season,[2]:227–230 finishing 9–13 and a 4.74 ERA. src: url(''); [2]:29 By the age of 16, Feller possessed what critics judged a high quality fastball; major league scouts traveled to Dayton, Ohio to watch him in the annual national baseball tournament. Closed: Sundays, Address: [6] Feller elected to remain with the Indians but Henrich joined the New York Yankees. My uncle, Paul Brownell, was your catcher on the Des Moines Farmers’ Union team in 1935!”, Feller grinned from ear to ear. [58] The Indians retired his jersey number, 19, on December 27, 1956. Feller played for the Cleveland Indians from 1936 to 1956, his career interrupted by four years of military service during World War II. "[11], There is footage of a Feller fastball being clocked by Army ordnance equipment (used to measure artillery shell velocity) and registering at 98.6 mph (158.7 km/h). In 1995, the Bob Feller Museum opened in Van Meter, Iowa. When asked whether he threw harder than any other pitcher ever, Feller responded that, at the end of his career, players who had batted against him and also against Nolan Ryan had said Feller threw harder than Ryan. [71] Feller said "I know in my heart I would have ended up a lot closer to 400 than 300 if I hadn't spent four seasons in the Navy. One of my favorite items is a homemade arm warmer. .synved-social-resolution-single { Feller became the first pitcher to win 24 games in a season before the age of 21. His career was interrupted by four years of military service in World War II, during which time he served as Chief Petty Officer aboard USS Alabama. @font-face {font-family: 'entypo-fontello'; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; Feller was selected to represent the AL All-Stars for the seventh time in his career in the 1948 All-Star Game, but declined to play, feeling that his performance did not warrant selection as an All-Star. [2]:27 While scouting Feller, Slapnicka said, "This was a kid pitcher I had to get. Upon being made General Manager of the Indians, Slapnicka transferred Feller's contract from Fargo-Moorhead to New Orleans to the majors without the pitcher so much as visiting either farm club, in clear violation of baseball rules.

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