On Friday morning, I heard on the radio about protests in various parts of the country. Most of them were peaceful, but there were apparently some problems in Portland.
Shortly after, I drove by a group of people who were celebrating Veterans’ Day. I stopped the car, parked, and dropped in to see what was going on. It was a senior center in the area dedicating a small statue for our veterans. It was full of men, and many of their spouses, who had served in Korea, Vietnam, and even World War II.
After the nice ceremony, I went over to a gentleman in a wheelchair who was wearing a Cleveland Indians baseball cap. I saluted him for his service and got into a little baseball talk about the 2016 Indians and Bob Feller, his baseball idol.
Bob Feller was one of the best pitchers in baseball history. He won 266, completed 279, and retired with a 3.25 ERA. He was on that 1948 team that won the Series.
“Rapid” Robert really began to hit his stride after his 19th birthday, rattling off a string of three straight twenty win seasons. It was during this time that Senators’ manager Bucky Harris conveyed the following strategy to his players when facing Feller “Go on up there and hit what you see. If you can’t see it, come on back.”
The day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, December 9, 1941, Feller put aside his 3-C draft deferment status and enlisted in the US Navy.
With this selfless act he became Major League Baseball’s first player to enlist in World War II, and in the process, gave up nearly four seasons of baseball in the prime of his career.
But Feller had no regrets “I’m proud of that decision to enlist. It was important to serve your country. I didn’t worry about losing my baseball career. We needed to win the war. I wanted to do my part.”
At the conclusion of the war, Feller returned to the game and picked up right where he left off averaging more than 19 wins a season over the next six years.
Are you listening, Colin Kaepernick?
Feller was obviously not the only Major-Leaguer who gave up his prime years to serve in the military. There were others, like Ted Williams and many more.
It is refreshing to say hello to a veteran on Veterans’ Day and remember a man who was willing to put everything on the line to defend his country.
Salute to all the veterans, and thumbs down to the people in the streets who can’t digest the fact that they lost an election.
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