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He Gave Up Baseball To Serve His Country

Bob Feller (Getty Images)

He’s considered one of the greatest baseball pitchers of all time. He made his major league debut with the Cleveland Indians when he was just 17 years old and the following year when he graduated from high school – the ceremony was broadcast nationally on NBC Radio.

Bob Feller struck out 17 batters in a game during his rookie season. Later he set a major league record by striking out 18 batters. He set a major league record for most strikeouts in a season with 348.

Feller led the American League in strikeouts seven times and in wins six times.

He finished with three no-hitters in his career. Only Nolan Ryan with seven and Sandy Kofax with four had more. Feller tossed his first no hitter on this date in 1940. It was the season opener against the Chicago White Sox and to this day it’s the only no hitter ever recorded on opening day in baseball history.

In addition to his no hitters, he recorded 12 one-hit games in his career.

He played his entire career with the Indians, interrupted by four years of service in the military during World War Two. He was on his way to sign a new contract with the Indians when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Instead of signing the contract he went to a nearby recruiting station and became the first pro athlete to enlist.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.


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