Robert William Andrew Feller (November 3, 1918 - December 15, 2010) was considered “the fastest and best pitcher I ever saw during my career” by Boston Red Sox Ted Williams, who himself has been referred to as the one of, if not the greatest hitter of all time. Not only was his fastball purportedly clocked at 107.6 miles per hour (the second fastest pitch recorded), but he also held the record for most no-hitters at the time of his retirement (3) and still holds the American League record for most one-hit games with 12. (Nolan Ryan also posted 12, with four teams in both the AL and NL.) Feller grew up on a farm in Van Meter, Iowa where his father built a baseball diamond on the family farm so that Bob could continue to improve as a pitcher, already pitching in American Legion Baseball as a 10 year old. At Van Meter High he was the center for the basketball team, but after he went 19-4 with his Farmer Union American Legion team, the Cleveland Indians swooped in to sign the 16-year old in 1936. Uniquely, Bob’s fastball had exceptional movement darting and wiggling around as opposed to the more common straight-line heater. Though originally slated for minor league assignment, Feller bypassed the minors due to a snafu between Indians management and MLB bylaws, thereby making him a free agent if he so chose. But, Bob remained with Cleveland began his career with a 15-strikeout performance against the St. Louis Browns for his first Major League win. He was 17. (Credit: PSA)
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