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Tuesday 27th Jun 2017

OK, so this time we really did lose someone, that would be the great Cleveland right hander, Rapid Robert Feller.

For those in the fantasy baseball strategy world who think dominant skill at a young age is the harbinger of future success, they should look no further than Feller, who debuted with Cleveland at the tender age of 17, posting 5-3, 3.34 mark as a rookie, over 62.1 innings in 1937. Feller earned a save that year, and started eight games, five of which he completed, whiffing 76 and allowing just 59 hits. Of course, he was a kid, hence 47 walks, but by the time Feller hit the ripe old age of 20, his WHIP was down to 1.23 and he won 24 games, pitched 296.2 innings, allowing just 227 hits (to 142 walks, so the ratio went down because no one could hit the guy) leading the American League is just about every meaningful pitching stat.

Feller went on the post a Hall of Fame career, with a 266-162, 3.25 lifetime record over 18 seasons. Although, as the caveat, remember Feller missed the years 1942-44, ages 22-25, due to that little fracas known as World War II. Kind of like Ted Williams, extrapolate Feller's average numbers over those years and you will see what monster totals he would have had, including probably 300 wins as over the three years prior to the conflict, Feller won 76 games, and over the three full seasons after his return, he won another 75.

I never saw Feller pitch live, for when he retired at age 37, in 1956, I was just three years old, but, I did meet him once in Cooperstown (I still have the ball he signed, of course, and he told Warren Spahn, who sat by him, that he thought I looked like Max Pantkin, which I hope was a compliment).

Feller was a throwback, even now. The kind of player who played for one team, and dominated for years and years. And, now, he too is gone, along with many of the players from an era who too will soon be lost to us.

But, we do have lore and a body of statistics, and thanks to that--which is again another reason baseball is not just wonderful, but touches us in so many ways--Mr. Feller will indeed live on.

 

Comments   

0 #2 Perry Van Hook 2010-12-16 18:57
RIP Rapid Robert

Feller was always good for an interesting quote or a good story from the old days.....opinionated to beat the band and on occassion - if he didn't like the question or someone asked for a free autograph - pretty surly

But a great pitcher......MLB Network is replaying the Studio 42 episode where Feller was interviewed by Costas and it is great if you haven't seen it.
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0 #1 Rob Leibowitz 2010-12-16 15:25
While I too never got to see Mr. Feller pitch (he was already retired 18 years by the time I was here), I'm pleased to have an autographed photo of this man.

I'd be remiss, if I didn't pass a link along to our friend John Sickels and Bob Feller biographer who had this to say here.
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