Sad news tonight as Bob Feller has passed away at the age of 92. Others will undoubtedly share fond stories and memories of Feller the human being, but here’s the statistical spin on one of the game’s greatest pitchers.
During Feller’s 18 season career – interrupted for the 1942-1944 seasons due to his military commitments – he tossed 3,827 innings while striking out 6.33 batters per nine innings. A modest rate in today’s league, but back then, Feller’s ratio led pitchers with at least 1,000 innings pitched, and finished third among pitchers with at least 500 innings pitched – with Vinegar Bend Mizell and Harvey Haddix topping him by under a batter per inning pitched.
He led the American League in Wins Above Replacement two times (1939 and 1940) and finished 128th overall for his career with more than 63. He finished first or second in American League Pitcher WAR six times – every season from 1938 through 1941, and upon his return 1946 and 1947. The league’s strikeout (counting) from 1938-1941 and 1946-1948; Feller’s career 2,581 strikeouts rank 26th overall even today.
Feller was the youngest player going in the American League during the 1936 and 1937 seasons (he was 17 and 18), and the ninth oldest in 1956 (he was 37). A lifelong member of the Cleveland Indians, Feller finished in the top five of MVP voting four times; he won 266 games; pitched well enough to amass a career ERA of 3.25 and a career FIP of 3.48 and entered the Hall of Fame in 1962. All of this to say that Feller knew how to throw a baseball by batters in a more powerful and cunning manner than most pitchers who have entertained this game.
Losing a loved one during the holiday season is an unenviable reality of life for the folks around Feller tonight. Please keep those people in your thoughts during their time of mourning.