Wednesday evening, Cleveland Indians vice president of public relations Bob DiBiasio announced that Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller has been transferred from the Cleveland Clinic to a hospice care center for the terminally ill. 

The 92-year-old Feller recently entered the Clinic suffering from pneumonia.  The illness was the most recent health issue for the Hall of Famer.  In August, Feller was diagnosed with leukemia, a month later a pacemaker was installed.

Signed by scout Cy Slapnicka for $1 and an autographed baseball, Feller made his debut with the Indians in 1936 at age 17.  Following the season, he returned home to Van Meeter, IA to complete his senior year in high school. 

“Rapid Robert” would go on to pitch 18 seasons with the Tribe, making eight All-Star games.  He missed three of the prime years of his career while serving in the United States Navy during World War II.

Feller led the Indians in most major pitching categories, including wins (266), innings (3,827), strikeouts (2,581), complete games (279) and starts (484).  He threw three career no-hitters including Major League Baseball’s only Opening Day no-hitter in 1940 against the Chicago White Sox.

Feller’s No. 19 was retired by the Indians in 1957, and he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.  At the 1999 All-Star Game in Boston, Major League Baseball named Feller one of its 100 All-Century Players.  Since retiring, he has remained very active with the Indian organization as well as the City of Cleveland.

On a personal note, I had the opportunity to meet Feller several years ago while attending spring training for the Indians.  He is a class act and a wonderful ambassador for both the game of baseball and City of Cleveland.

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