The Des Moines Register’s Bob Feller Tribute Page

Terrific list of links to Feller stories and footage around the web. Among numerous gems I found via this page, this piece by Frank Deford in 2005 for Sports Illustrated:

Ted Williams once said, “Three days before he pitched I would start thinking about Robert Feller, Bob Feller. I’d sit in my room thinking about him all the time. God, I loved it…. Allie Reynolds of the Yankees was tough, and I might think about him for 24 hours before a game, but Robert Feller: I’d think about him for three days.”

And this piece from Jayson Stark, putting Feller’s career in perspective:

Imagine this kid, at 17 years old, pitching an exhibition game in 1936 against a Cardinals team still rolling out most of the lineup that had won the World Series in 1934 — and striking out EIGHT of the nine hitters he faced. Imagine this kid, a few weeks later, making the first start of his big-league career, and whiffing 15 St. Louis Browns. Imagine him, three weeks after that, ripping off 17 K’s against the Athletics — the biggest strikeout game in American League history at the time. Now imagine him, just a couple of weeks later, heading back home to Iowa — so he could ride the SCHOOL BUS with his sister and finish high school. All true. It all happened. In real life. He was the LeBron James of his era — except with a 12-to-6 curve instead of a learning curve.

And this touching tribute by Joe Posnanski:

The tape recorder was off and my notebook was put away and so I cannot write here what he said word for word. But I remember the important part. He told me that I was lucky, that what you need to succeed in this world is a father who believes in you. And he told me that his father believed in him. Funny thing, though, he said Bill Feller never once said, “Bob, someday you’re going to pitch in the big leagues.” No, there were no words. There are some things that cannot be said with words. There was only those sweaty Iowa afternoons and those chilly Iowa evenings, and the sun setting, and a baseball going back and forth. Everything he needed to know about life was in that back-and-forth.

Bill Feller died in 1943, while his son Bob was at war. He had seen his son become the best pitcher in baseball.

Friday, 17 December 2010