Tag:Bob Feller
Posted on: December 8, 2011 4:06 pm

Pujols won't join exclusive Hall of Fame club

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Albert Pujols will most likely wear a St. Louis Cardinals hat when he's ultimately inducted into the Hall of Fame, but there still may be a question. We just don't know at this point. There are those players who go into the Hall without a doubt of which hat they'll wear, because it's the only one they ever wore. 

While the Hall of Fame is an elite club, there's a more elite club -- one of Hall of Famers who played their entire career with one organization. Currently there are 47 such players in Cooperstown, with the possibility of one more joining their ranks if Barry Larkin is voted in when the next class is announced in January.

It seemed like Pujols would be one of those guys -- there was even talk of a statue being built at Busch Stadium while he was still active. That statue will have to wait -- and it could be a long time before he's honored like that in St. Louis. 

So, if Pujols isn't going to join that club, who may? Here's four who may be able to claim they spent all of their entire major league career with one team.

Both Derek Jeter and Mariano River are first-ballot Hall of Fame players, both are nearing the end of their careers and both received new contracts with the Yankees last season. Jeter, 37, has two more years on his contract, plus a player option for 2014. He may play after he turns 40, but there's an almost zero percent chance the Yankees let him do it in another uniform. The same can be said for Rivera, 42. The all-time saves leader is under contract for 2012 and is unliekly to play anywhere else.

The third guy is Chipper Jones, who will turn 40 on April 24 and is under contract through 2012 with a club option for 2013 that becomes guaranteed if he plays 123 games this season. Jones has been on the verge of retiring the last two years. Like Jeter and Rivera, it seems unthinkable he'd ever wear another uniform as a player.

And that leads us to the fourth player, who will not only have an asterisk on this list if he does go into the Hall with his current team, but also the one of this group most likely to play for a different team (but even that chance seems slight -- but not as slight as the other three), and that's Ichiro Suzuki. The asterisk is that of course he played the first half of his career for the Orix Blue Wave in Japan before coming to the Mariners in 2000. Some will debate whether he'd be in the Hall if he retired today, but I find it hard to believe he could be left out. Suzuki is in the final year of his five-year extension he signed in 2007 and with the Mariners going through a rebuilding phase, he may not fit into their plans. Another team could be interested, or he could return to Japan. However, it's been suggested he really wants to get to 3,000 hits in the United States. He's at 2,428 right now and would need at least three more years to get there -- that could be two with a different team.

There are some other players that aren't sure-fire Hall of Famers that could still get there and do it with one team, but there's still a lot to be proven. The closest to the end of his career is the Rangers' Michael Young, who would need to get to 3,000 hits before he had a shot at the Hall. Young, 35, has 2,061 hits, so even that seems unlikely. Then there are the young, talented players who have a lot more to prove before getting there. However, Troy Tulowitzki, Ryan Braun, Evan Longoria and Matt Kemp all have one thing in common -- long-term contracts with their current team. 

Here's the list of Hall of Famers who played for just one team, sorted by team:

Yankees: Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Phil Rizzuto.

Dodgers: Roy Campanella, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson.

Giants: Carl Hubbell, Travis Jackson, Mel Ott, Bill Terry, Ross Youngs.

Pirates: Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski, Willie Stargell, Pie Traynor.

Red Sox: Bobby Doerr, Jim Rice, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski.

Indians: Bob Feller, Addie Joss, Bob Lemon.

Orioles: Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson.

White Sox: Luke Appling, Red Faber, Ted Lyons.

Cardinals: Bob Gibson, Stan Musial.

Reds: Johnny Bench, Bid McPhee.

Tigers: Charlie Gehringer, Al Kaline.

Brewers: Robin Yount.

Cubs: Ernie Banks.

Padres: Tony Gwynn.

Phillies: Mike Schmidt.

Royals: George Brett.

Senators: Walter Johnson.

Twins: Kirby Puckett.

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Posted on: February 27, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2011 1:36 pm

Indians honor Feller in spring training opener

Posted by Evan Brunell

Ah, baseball.

As spring training games open, the Indians and Reds are kicking off their first game, and Jordan Bastain of MLB.com is at the proceedings. Prior to the game starting, Cleveland played a video tribute to the late Bob Feller, who passed away earlier this offseason. Fellers No. 19 is painted into the grass in-between the Cleveland dugout and first-base line, as the image below snapped by John Fay shows. Fay, who works for the Cincinnati Enquirer, also noted the No. 10 on the Reds' side of the field, honoring the late Sparky Anderson.

Baseball was rocked by another death Sunday, as the iconic Duke Snider passed away at age 84.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: February 24, 2011 4:06 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 5:13 pm

R.I.P. Dontrelle's leg kick

Dontrelle Willis

Dontrelle Willis had one of the most distinctive pitching motions in baseball, one that was long-credited with his success, but no more.

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweeted today from Willis' live-BP session and said his "high leg kick is gone."

With Willis' recent struggles, it seems like it's time to try something.

Once one of baseball's great ambassadors, Willis and his funky pitching motion burst onto the scene in 2003, winning 14 games as a rookie and appearing in the All-Star game. Two years later he won 22 games and finished second in the Cy Young Award voting.

In his first four seasons, Willis was 58-39 with a 3.44 ERA; the last four seasons, he's gone 13-24 with a 5.81 ERA. 

Fay reported positive results from Willis' round of BP (yeah, we know, way too early to draw any conclusions), but yet it made me sad for one of my favorite windups.

Other great ones:

Tim Lincecum -- a don't try this at home for kids, but when it looks this cool (and the results are like this), it's tough not to try it.

Tim Lincecum

Orlando Hernandez -- a similar high leg kick as Willis, but his hands are low instead of high and he would look backwards, like Luis Tiant. Add to that an arm slot as predictable as Lost, well, it's always fun to see what El Duque had on tap.

Orlando Hernandez

Hideo Nomo -- loved the throw-back with the hands high over his head motion.

Hideo Nomo

Of course, further back you have great ones in Dan Quisenberry, Luis Tiant, Fernando Valenzuela, Bob Feller and Juan Marichal. 

UPDATE: Fay followed up on his tweet, talking to Reds pitching coach Bryan Price about the lack of leg kick.
“That was pretty much gone when I started working with him,” Price said. “He had been working on that in Detroit. He wasn’t a reclamation project. We just really working on tightening things up.”
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 
Posted on: December 15, 2010 10:16 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2010 10:56 pm

Bob Feller passes

Feller Bob Feller has passed due to acute leukemia, leaving baseball without one of the best pitchers of the middle-20th century, Keith Murphy of WHO TV in Des Moines reports.

The confirmed passing of Feller occurred at 9:15 p.m. EST in a hospice.

The right-hander had a career that saw him win 266 games with a 3.25 ERA -- and that's with a three-year interruption from ages 23-25 due to war. Imagine what Feller could have done with those three years (plus a full season in 1945, when he made only nine starts). Given Feller won 24, 27 and 25 games prior to his departure and then 26 and 20 his two full years back, he would have had at least 20 wins per year, right? Give him 75 more wins (given he won five in 1945's nine starts) and you're looking at someone with at least 341.

At least. Hard to imagine he doesn't end up with at least 350. This was a man who was one of the best right-handed pitchers in the game, and has a case to be top five all-time.

Feller was an ironman, leading baseball five times in innings pitched from 1939-1941 and 1946-47. His six-year span (including those nine starts in 1945) gave him a 2.68 ERA in 200 starts (with another 25 out of the bullpen) with 1,370 strikeouts and an ERA+ of 144, meaning he was 44 percent above average. Heck, he even added 14 saves to those totals.

Feller led baseball in punchouts seven times, with his career high as 348 in 371 1/3 innings for the 1946 Indians. Feller was part of the 1948 squad that won a World Series, which remains the last time the tortured souls in Ohio have won it all. He would also go on to be a member of the AL pennant-winning 1954 squad and played 18 seasons overall, all with Cleveland.

The Iowa native's career 2,581 strikeouts places him 26th on the all-time list. His career Wins Above Replacement is 66, placing him 19th on the right-handed pitchers list of those with at least 2,000 innings pitched. For comparison, Curt Schilling barely beats him out.

But there's a reason Feller is in the Hall and Schilling figures to have an uphill battle: Feller's missed seasons due to war. WAR (no pun intended) is cumulative, so if you assume at least a 7 WAR (like the wins, this is conservative) for each of the missed seasons, Feller rises to top-five territory in the company of Phil Niekro and Greg Maddux.

Feller was so well regarded that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame with 93.3 percent of the vote in his first-year of eligibility. Nicknamed Bullet Bob and Rapid Robert, Feller had held the title of longest-tenured living Hall of Famer prior to his death.

Oh, and about that military service? Feller was the first MLB player to volunteer for service immediately after the Pearl Harbor bombing and served aboard the USS Alabama , earning eight battle stars, and Feller is the only Chief Petty Officer in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Feller's claim to fame comes from his heater, which was one of the best in the history of the game at that point. In fact, a school of thought believes that Feller threw harder than Nolan Ryan, which is hard to believe. There is evidence that Feller threw 98.6 mph at the tail-end of his career, although the velocity was clocked as passing the plate, not coming out of his hand as common measurements do so. He is the owner of the second-fastest pitch recorded at 107.6 mph in 1946. Nolan Ryan was measured at 108.1 in 1974.

The wins... the WAR... the innings pitched... the time away defending the country... the strikeouts... all show that Bob Feller belongs in the conversation for best right-handed starter ever.

Baseball has lost a legend. Condolences to his family and friends.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
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