Profiles of Valor
The namesake of this foundation, Robert “Bob” Feller, was born in Iowa in 1918. Over the course of his lifetime, Feller fully embodied what it meant to be a hero.
On the baseball field, he proved to be one of the greatest pitchers to ever live. At the age of seventeen, Feller embarked on an impressive Major League career in which he pitched for the Cleveland Indians for eighteen seasons. He compiled a lifetime record of 266 wins and 162 losses while striking out 2,581 batters and posting a 3.25 ERA. “Rapid Robert” was voted an All-Star eight times, won the pitching triple crown in 1940, led the American League in wins six times, and led the MLB in strikeouts eight times. In 1948, he won a World Series championship with the Indians. The Cleveland Indians honored his accomplishments on the field by retiring his number, 19, in the same year that he retired from playing and electing him to their own Hall of Fame in 1957. In 1962, Feller was inducted into Cooperstown in his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot, garnering a staggering 93.75% of the votes.
In 1941, two days after hearing about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Bob Feller enlisted in the United States Navy despite his eligibility for deferment. Feller gave up four years of his prime in order to answer the call of duty. He rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer during his service and saw combat in Tarawa, the Marshall Islands, the Caroline Islands, and in the Philippines while serving onboard the USS Alabama. For his service and valor during World War II, Chief Petty Officer Feller was the recipient of six campaign ribbons and eight battle stars. Additionally, Feller pitched for the Norfolk Naval Base’s baseball team and managed the Great Lakes Naval Station’s baseball team.
In his honor, the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award was created in 2013 in conjunction with the MLB and the United States Navy to further honor those who support service men and women. Bob Feller became an American hero because of his dominance on the baseball diamond and his service to his country.