Baseball great and Iowa native passes away - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Baseball great and Iowa native passes away


VAN METER (KWWL) -- Cleveland Indians baseball great and Iowa native Bob Feller died Wednesday night of acute leukemia.

He was a star not created by personal trainers and coaches but hard work on the family farm. This baseball great got his start in Van Meter and was only 17 when he struck out eight members of the St. Louis Cardinals in three innings of an exhibition game.

After this awesome display of pitching, Feller was advised to seek voluntary retirement from high school in order to sign a professional baseball contract.

For 20 years, the teenage phenom was known as "Bullet Bob" and "Rapid Robert."

As a rookie, he struck out 15 batters in a single game, which at that time was an American League record. In 1940, Bullet Bob became the first American League pitcher to throw a complete game no-hitter on opening day.

At age 23, his career was put on hold by a four-year enlistment in the Navy. Upon entering the Navy, Feller became an anti-aircraft gunner aboard the U.S.S. Alabama and came out a highly decorated war veteran.

To this day, baseball historians speculate that Bullet Bob might have won 350 games and recorded nearly 3,500 strikeouts had he not joined the military, but he was proud to serve and never asked, "What if?"

He then re-entered major league baseball to regain his dominance on the mound. Even though his military career consumed four prime baseball years, Feller ranks 28th in history with 266 wins.

He remains the Indians all-time leader in shutouts (46), strikeouts (2,581), innings (3,828) and all-star appearances (8).

Bob Feller was in good company growing up. During little league Nile Kinnick, the Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Iowa, was his catcher.

Bob Feller was 92.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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