Bob Feller, the hard-throwing Cleveland Indian who went right from the Van Meter, Iowa farm to the bigs during his summer vacation following his junior year of high school, passed away today. He was 92.
Feller joined the Indians in 1936 and instantly became one of the biggest draws in baseball, a hard-throwing kid whose fastball reached 100 miles per hour and who struck out 15 in his big-league debut. He would surpass that just a few weeks later, striking out 17, and eventually threw three no-hitters and 12 one-hitters. He won 266 games in a career that was interrupted by service during World War II, a four-year stint in the Navy that probably cost him a minimum of 100 wins.
He was a constant presence for the Indians even after retirement; it was a tradition of spring training to see Feller setting up a table near the ballpark gates, decked out in whites and stirrups well into his eighties.
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