Sunday, August 5, 2007

1946....Not so Fast, Rapid Robert Feller

After returning from military service, Bob Feller was determined to make up for lost time.

In 1946, the Cleveland Indians' pitcher was 26W 15L, while striking out 348 in 371 innings. He threw 10 shutouts and on April 30th tossed a no-hitter versus the then rival New York Yankees.

His 348 strikeouts surpassed Rube Waddell's 343 back in 1904. Some statisticians claimed Waddell's correct total was 349, even though no official stat sheets existed it is the adjusted figure of 349 that is the accepted total for Rube Waddell.

Rube Waddell was an eccentric fellow. Once while at-bat when the catcher threw to second base in an attempt to pickoff a base-runner, the errant throw went into the outfield, the runner then got up and took off for third and as he approached the bag was waved in by the third base coach.
As the throw came in for a play at the plate, Waddell stepped up and swung at it, knocking the ball over the fence. Not a home run though, he was called out for interference.

When he was asked why he did it, Rube responded: "It was the first pitch I saw, all day, that I could hit."

(Waddell's story from They Did What? by Bob Fenster. Feller's story by Anthony J. Connor's book entitled Baseball for the Love of It, Hall of Famers Tell it Like it Was.)

Kevin Marquez