2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

RIP Bob Feller 1918 - 2010...part pitcher, part warrior...All American!

I am no fan of Cleveland, Ohio - or as I call it the Peoples Socialist Republic of Cuyahoga (county that is, where Cleveland is located). Their obsessive anti-gun politics and rhetoric constantly grate on my nerves whenever I read about local ordinances being passed that run contrary to our states CCW laws and of people being ticketed for legally carrying in and around those parts.

Despite this, I do begrudgingly follow the Cleveland Indians and Browns. There has not been much to follow in recent years and while I think the Browns are trying to make strides to becoming a winning franchise...the Indians seem to be content to be a second tier team year after year and groom great players to trade or sell them to other teams...Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, Manny Ramirez...and the list could go on. But a long time ago the Indians were magnificent...world champions as a matter of fact in 1948 and a dominating force in baseball into the 1950's.

A large part of this dominance was due to an Iowa farm boy named Bob Feller. Feller started in the league at the age of 17 and was an instant impact to the game. As a pitcher his fastball was legendary in its time and since. They did not have radar as we know it to judge speed back then, but it has been estimated by analyzing film that his speed off the mound generally was between 97 and 104 mph during his career. That would be amazing even today...let alone 60 years ago without the aid of modern training techniques, diet, medicine and yes...even steroids.

Things were going pretty well for Bob when a group of jerks on a Japanese aircraft carrier decided "what the hell, lets bring the US into WW2" on December 7th 1941. Now back in that war a guy like Pat Tillman - who gave up millions as a professional football player to enlist in the Army after 9/11 as a ranger and was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan - was not a lone wolf like he is today. Today you don't see any other pro athletes deciding that a signing bonus, multi-million dollar contract, luxurious lifestyle is not as important as using their God given skills in the service of their country. That is partially why I am amazed that Navy can constantly field a team that is fairly competitive in college football every year (they gave my Buckeyes a good run for the money last year!). However, in WW2 entire companies of professional athletes were killed during the invasions of Europe and the Japanese empire. Most of them were raised with a value system much different than the one athletes were raised in today. Through the depression many suffered much..and were glad to have the chance to be compensated for playing a game for the enjoyment of others. Now in an era where we have to hold news conference for a high school junior to let us know where he is going to play in 2 years...or where a basketball player is signing in free agency..or find out a players father is out there demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars to get his son to play at a school...the thought of these "sacred athletic cows" being offered up for possible slaughter at the hand of our nations enemy is outlandish.

But this was 1941, not 2010. Players did take a look at their life and make the decision whether to serve their country or stay a pro athlete and possibly get drafted or maybe sell war bonds. Bob Feller was one of these athletes and took a long look into his heart and decide what to do..

..and he did decide to serve..and enlisted in the Navy to get some payback...

ON DECEMBER 8TH, 1941!!!!

Yeah, that's right...a little more than 24 hours after the attack Bob Feller left the world of professional baseball to enter an uncertain future as a guardian of American freedom. He served on a gun crew on the USS Alabama until 1946, and in that time was awarded for his actions during combat on several occasions. And this wasn't the Navy of today where some guy sits in front of a computer screen and tells an automated turret where to point and pushes a button. This was serious large marbles duty sitting in an exposed gun turret with bombs, machine gun fire and other havoc circling around you as you fought the enemy.

To this day the Navy is not sure if Feller actually fired anti-aircraft shells at Japanese planes from those guns or just reared back and let loose with his own personal cannon they called his arm like they were baseballs...

He was the first professional athlete to put his personal values and moral code to the test and volunteer to serve his country. And it is for this fact that I honor him today....

oh yeah...after the war he went back to baseball when a lot of people said he would be washed up after the war....and pitched 3 no-hitter...12 one hitters and even left Ted Williams with a lifetime batting percentage of .270 against him....and was a first round unanimous selection to Cooperstown.

RIP Bob....thanks for being part of our greatest generation and anchors away sailor.

Saluting now...

No comments: