When he stepped onto the Doubleday Field mound at the inaugural Hall of Fame Classic at the age of 90 on Father’s Day in 2009, Bob Feller proved his status as an American icon was truly timeless, according to Hall of Fame officials.
Feller’s iconic legend continues in Cooperstown as a key part of the latest baseball tradition he helped create, the Hall of Fame Classic.
The Hall of Fame recently announced that Classic’s Player of the Game Award will be dedicated in Feller’s memory and presented beginning this year.
According to a Hall of Fame media release, The Bob Feller Player of the Game Award will be presented annually following the Hall of Fame Classic, starting with the June 19 Legends game at Doubleday Field. Feller, who spent more than half of his life as an elected Hall of Famer following his election in 1962, passed away Dec. 15 at the age of 92.
According to the release, his starting assignment in the 2009 Hall of Fame Classic was another chapter in the historic moments of Feller’s life, as he faced the first three batters of the inaugural game, before departing to a rousing standing ovation at Doubleday Field.
The release said Feller returned to the Classic in 2010 to entertain and thrill fans who adored a man whose patriotism and love of baseball were on display every day of his life.
“Bob Feller’s legacy lives on in Cooperstown through his achievements on, and off the baseball diamond, Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson. said in the release. “No one loved the game or the Hall of Fame more than Bob, and he spent his life thanking the fans for their support of baseball, of America, and of his career. It is fitting that the award for the Classic’s Player of the Game, held on Father’s Day, now bears his name.”
Feller won 266 games in a storied 18-year big league career with the Cleveland Indians, including his 1-0 no-hit victory over the White Sox on April 16, 1940 -- the first of his three career no-hitters. He missed almost four years of action on the diamond while serving in the Navy during World War II.
Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962 in his first year eligible, Feller became one of baseball’s greatest ambassadors, returning annually to Cooperstown for Hall of Fame Induction Weekend and countless other events, according to the release.