Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Salute to the 15 Greatest U.S. Armed Forces Veteran MLB Players

Memorial Day Weekend Series- Part 5 of 16

No. 12 Bob Feller

Like Greenberg, "Bullet" Bob Feller enlisted to serve in World War II during the prime of his career. Coming off three spectacular seasons, he dutifully joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 and volunteered for combat where he earned five campaign ribbons and eight battle stars.

Feller, also know as "Rapid Robert" for his dominating fastball, played his entire 18-year career for the Cleveland Indians. Although he played in an age without "JUGS" guns, baseball historians consider him the hardest throwing pitcher in the history of the game. Equipment used at the time once recorded his fastball at an astonishing 107.6 mph.

In the period from 1939-1941, Feller recorded a staggering won-lost record of 76-33. The work horse also compiled 767 strikeouts in 960 innings— obviously before the age of pitch counts and five-game rotations.

After returning from active duty to toss nine games in 1945, Rapid Robert picked up where he left off five years earlier. He recorded 26 wins, 36 complete games, a 2.18 ERA, and 348 strikeouts in an amazing 371.1 innings of work.

Feller is 36th on the all-time win list with 266, but he might have exceeded 350 for his career had he not chosen to nobly serve his country rather than further his baseball career. He was a seven-time All-Star and the 1940 MLB Player of the Year.


570 266 162 .621 3.25 2581 44

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