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December 15, 2010

Bob Feller (1918-2010)

And tonight...Wahoo Nation weeps.

A week after entering hospice care, the greatest Cleveland Indian of all-time, Hall of Famer Bob Feller has passed away...succumbing to leukemia.

The 92 year-old former pitcher had been hit with a number of health problems after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in August.  In the past few months, he had suffered from pneumonia, thrush, vertigo and, in October, had a pacemaker installed.

Last week, he had been moved from the Cleveland Clinic to hospice care.

Feller is the Indians all-time leader in wins, starts, complete games, innings pitched and strikeouts having spent his entire career (18 seasons) in Cleveland.  He also holds a number of single-season records for the Tribe.  The righty led the American League in strikeouts seven times and eight times, he was named to the All-Star team.

And yeah...feel free to add three no-hitters to those many pitching achievements.

"Rapid Robert" finished his career in 1956 with a 266-162 record and, without a doubt, would have reached 300, had he not taken time off to enlist in the Navy during World War II, where he served for three years. 

The Indians retired his Number 19 in 1957...he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame five years later.  And up until a few hours ago, he was the longest tenured living Hall of Famer.

On a personal note, I met Feller close to 20 years ago when he came to town to sign autographs during a Rockford Expos game.  I showed the ball he signed to a couple of guys I knew from the now defunct Expos farm team and, immediately, I was sent back to the autograph line to get them something signed.

Oh, and since you're here...why not watch a video of Feller throwing out the first pitch at an Indians Spring Training game from this past March.  I mean, what else do you have going on?

Do you have any stories you'd like to share about Feller?  I'd love to read them.

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