i took some time to reflect on bob feller after his passing last week. not so much the statistics, but more so the person. feller was possibly the most heralded of "bonus babies" of all time. he made his debut at the age of 17 and pretty much dominated from then on. he was a phenom who had the attention of the baseball media in every city. these days there is 24/7 sports radio and tv, the internet, newspapers, magazines, fantasy sports; it's over saturation. however, it was tough back in the day as well. newspapers routinely printed 3 editions per day and major cities could have half a dozen newspapers. that's 18 papers per day so there was a lust for the hot story or a great photo. the brearley collection photos of bob feller capture this. since a vast majority of the collection was taken by Boston press photographers we have the unique view of seeing the attention feller garnered as a visiting player. i can imagine photographers clamoring around a teenage feller trying to get that perfect photo for the evening edition.
after retiring, Feller was criticized for claiming he could throw harder than the modern player, or that the talent when he played was greater. fair or not, i've come to respect that the man believed something and had the courage to speak his mind about it. on the topic of courage; did you know Feller was the first MLB player to sign on for World War 2? he missed 4 full prime seasons to serve his country. this parallels ted williams (another man who wasn't afraid to express his opinion), in that he was willing to sacrafice in order to serve his country