Written By Carl Sengstock
Growing up in Northeastern Ohio my friends and I had our heroes. I was born in 1950 so my baseball hero was Rocky Colavito. Little did I know that as I grew up I would have the chance to meet Rocky and several other Cleveland Indians.
BUT no one stuck out in my mind more than Bob Feller. Here's how it happened. I knew a man who claimed to be a friend of Rapid Robert's. I asked him if Bob would consider coming to my home (only 3 miles away) and do a private signing and how much would he charge? Low and behold the fellow came thru.
I answer my phone one evening and it is Bob Feller himself. Well after almost dropping the telephone we chatted and he wanted to come over the next day and said how would $500 for 2 hours be? I said great. He said have the coffee on.
Well 1:00 came quick for me the next day. Suddenly the doorbell rings and at MY door stood (bigger than life) Bob Feller. Said nice to meet you where are we going I said my basement and down the stairs we went.
Bob gets to the bottom of my stairs and says can I look around? I said sure. He loved the fact that I had all of the Cleveland Indians pennants from 1954 and 1948 along with the tickets too.
He spent a good 15 minutes checking everything out and then said let's get to work. What a machine. He could sign more clearly and faster than anybody I had ever seen. If I remember correctly he signed 700 autographs for me and Drank 2 pots of coffee in 2 hours.
I had to ask him questions....I mean would I ever have this chance again? I asked Bob...who was your toughest out. He answers....Gehrig. I never had much trouble with Ruth. OMG Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
WOW. Now I am pinching myself. Bob who was the best pitcher of all time? Didn't hesitate Walter Johnson was his answer. Best pure swing or hitter....he says No Question Ted Williams.
Bob said he spoke to Ted Williams every month until Ted passed on. THEY NEVER ONCE SPOKE BASEBALL!! That spoke volumes to me. I knew Bob was a super patriot signing up for the Navy the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked.
Bob shared with me an incident when a jerk asked him if he wasn't sorry he didn't stay out of the war ....look how much better your records would have been?
Bob looked at the man and said "say that one more time and you are going to be picking yourself up off the floor". I would have given anything to see that! I asked Bob if he was ever able to find out how fast he pitched.
He told me that they brought in 2 scientists to the old Baltimore Stadium and somehow they were able to measure his speed at 107.9. There probably lies the myth. We all knew he could throw well over 100 mph and maybe 102 or 103.
But 107.9. Not so sure about that. I asked him if there was anything he would not sign? He told me a guy handed him a golf ball once and he told the guy where to stick the golf ball"where the sun don't shine!!
Well after our time together with Bob Feller "The Man, The Myth, the Legend"........I can honestly say we bonded and became friends and YES.......I do have a golf ball signed by Bob Feller.
Filed under: MLB