Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Feller could bring it like no one who had come before him; his fastball was considered by many to be the most overpowering in the history of the game when he arrived in the major leagues in 1936. Seventy years later, Feller can still bring it, and has never been afraid to speak out on any issue affecting the game of baseball.
It's appropriate that Bob is being honored here at a banquet that benefits American Legion Baseball, because he is a stellar member of "The Greatest Generation," and we're not just talking about the generation of great hitters who he dazzled with his terrific heater. Feller, like many of the great players of his era, put baseball on hold to spend four years in the Navy during World War II, leaving room to wonder just what kind of career numbers he would have put up if duty had not called during the prime of his career. At age 23, began serving his four-year enlistment in the Navy, where he became an anti-aircraft gunner aboard the U.S.S. Alabama and came out a highly decorated war veteran. He then re-entered Major League Baseball to regain his dominance on the mound.
No matter. "Rapid Robert," who broke into the majors with the Cleveland Indians at just 18 years of age, still went on to win 266 games and post an impressive .621 winning percentage, and he still ranks 22nd all-time with 2,581 career strikeouts. He also held a share of the major league record for no-hitters, with three, until it was broken by Sandy Koufax in the 1960s.
For nearly twenty years Bob Feller has been active with the Arizona Major League Alumni supporting and assisting the organization’s chosen charities -- Arizona Youth Baseball Program, Baseball Assistance Team, and the Association of Professional Ball Players of America.