Dead, Robert William Andrew Feller on December 15, 2010 at the age of 92 from complications of leukaemia at 92, he was an American baseball pitcher who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cleveland Indians.
Feller pitched from 1936 to 1941 and from 1945 to 1956, interrupted only by a four-year sojourn in the Navy. Feller first played for the Indians at the age of 17.
His career was interrupted by four years of military service in World War II, during which time he served as Chief Petty Officer aboard the USS Alabama.
Feller became the first pitcher to win 24 games in a season before the age of 21.
During his career, he threw no-hitters in 1940, 1946, and 1951. Feller also recorded 12 one-hitters (his no-hitters and one-hitters were records at the time of his retirement).
He helped the Indians win a World Series title in 1948 and an American League-record 111 wins and the pennant in 1954. Feller led the American League in wins six times and in strikeouts seven times.
Born and raised with his sister, Merrilee, in Van Meter, Iowa on November 3, 1918.
His father, William, ran the 360-acre (150 ha) family farm, and his mother, Lena (Forret), was a teacher and registered nurse.
Feller played catch daily with his father.
He had learned to throw a curveball by the time he was eight years old, and could throw a ball 270 feet (82 m) when he was nine.
To assist his son, Feller senior started growing wheat on his farm, a less labour-intensive crop than corn, to allow his son more time to play baseball.
Originally the Fellers were Roman Catholics but converted to Methodism after Feller’s father was reprimanded by their parish priest for letting him play on Sundays.
In 1936, Feller was signed by Cy Slapnicka, a scout for the Indians, for one dollar and an autographed baseball.
While scouting Feller, Slapnicka said, “This was a kid pitcher I had to get. I knew he was something special.
His fastball was fast and fuzzy; it didn’t go in a straight line; it would wiggle and shoot around.
I didn’t know then that he was smart and had the heart of a lion, but I knew that I was looking at an arm the likes of which you see only once in a lifetime.” Feller was assigned to the Fargo-Moorhead Twins and was to report there after finishing the high school semester.
Slapnicka was later named general manager of the Indians and transferred Feller’s contract from Fargo-Moorhead to the New Orleans Pelicans.
He was planning to add Feller, along with outfielder Tommy Henrich, to the major league roster after a few exhibition and semi-pro games without visiting either farm club.