Bob Feller, Dead at 92

The New York Times:

Joining the Cleveland Indians in 1936, Feller became baseball’s biggest draw since Babe Ruth, throwing pitches that batters could barely see — fastballs approaching 100 miles an hour and curveballs and sinkers that fooled the sharpest eyes. He was Rapid Robert in the sports pages. As Yankees pitcher Lefty Gomez was said to have remarked after three Feller pitches blew by him, “That last one sounded a little low.”

When I was around 10 or so, I went to see the local minor league team play. Feller was there at the concourse, in a kiosk, signing autographs and selling photographs and other memorabilia. All I saw was an old man I’d never heard of. My dad took me aside and filled me in. “John, that’s Bob Feller. He threw three no-hitters and could throw the ball 100 miles per hour. He might be the best there ever was.”

So we got in line (it wasn’t long), and Feller signed the ball I’d taken with me to the game. And he was just great. He asked about my little league team, he talked to my dad about the great Indians teams in the late ’40s. There was a palpable sense that Feller simply loved baseball.

Thursday, 16 December 2010