Saturday, December 18, 2010

266 vs. 521

What stands out the most to me about Bob Feller, the great pitcher who just died at 92, is how like Ted Williams he was.  Consider:
  • Williams is arguable the greatest hitter who ever played Baseball; Feller is arguably the greatest pitcher olf all time.
  • Feller played his entire career in Cleveland, and then remained in the city as a pillar of the Indians organization.  Williams played his entire career in Boston, and then remained in New England as a pillar of the Red Sox organization.
  • Feller won "only" 266 games because he enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor.  Rather than a cushy morale boosting post playing baseball, he insisted on a combat posting, and served as a Gunnery Mate on the battleship Alabama.  Williams hit "only" 521 home runs because he enlisted in the Navy after Pearl Harbor.  While he spent World War II training Marine fighter pilots, he returned to service in the Korean War, this time flying combat sorties.
In New England, one of the perennial subjects for chewing the fat is how many home runs Williams would have hit had war not taken his greatest years.  The same question can be asked on Bob Feller - just how many games would he have won had war not taken his prime years?

We don't see this type any more.  God speed, Mr. Feller.  I hope that the good Lord lets you pitch to Teddy Ballgame once again.

1 comment:

AnarchAngel said...

Till his dying day, my grandfather a native Bostonian (born 1931, died 1996) and Red Sox season ticket holder from 1964 through 1995; insisted that Bob Feller was the greatest pitcher in all of basball, and that Williams was the greatest hitter.

As it happens, he and Williams became friends later in life, after both retired to Florida (in my grandfathers case, semi-retired, spending about 1/3 his time in FL, 1/3 working in Boston and Quincy, and 1/3 up in New Hampshire0