Memories of Bob

By Craig Muder

The gray-haired gentlemen emerged from the entrance foyer at the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday – and no introductions were necessary.

Bob Feller, their father, could be seen in their faces. And even though it’s been more than a year since Bob passed away, the visit of his sons Steve and Bruce brought the memories to life in Cooperstown.

Steve and Bruce stopped by the Hall of Fame on Wednesday to donate two documents to the Museum’s Library. One was an original scorecard from their father’s legendary Opening Day no-hitter on April 16, 1940. The other: Bob Feller’s original contract with the Indians, hand-written on the back of stationery from a Des Moines, Iowa, hotel and signed by Feller and scout Cy Slapnicka.

“These were both in Dad’s house when he passed, squirreled away in the attic,” Steve Feller said. “We remember the scorecard hanging in our rec room when we were kids.”

The scorecard documents the only game in big league history where all players on one team started and finished the game with the same batting average: All White Sox batters were hitting .000 after the game.

But the contract is equally fascinating. The deal gave Feller a $1 bonus, and provided that he would visit his “folks” anytime he wanted during the 1936 season, plus provided that he could play basketball in his off hours. The deal indicated that Feller would start the season playing for a team in Fargo, N.D., but the fireballing phenom went right to the majors to begin his career.

During their stop in the Museum, the Feller brothers took a look at their Dad’s Hall of Fame plaque as well as others located nearby.

“Elmer Flick – he used to come to my baseball games in Solon (Ohio),” said Steve Feller of his youth baseball days. “And Hank Greenberg – we played with his sons.”

It was all part of a unique childhood with an iconic father.

“These belong here – in Cooperstown,” said Bruce Feller of his father’s documents. “Dad would have wanted it that way, and so do we.”

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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