Bob Feller, Hall of Fame baseball player and World War II Navy veteran, died yesterday at the age of 92. Feller was a true American patriot. Two days after Pearl Harbor was attacked, Feller informed the Cleveland Indians baseball team not to expect him for Spring training as he just enlisted in the Navy.While the Navy gave him the rate of "Chief Specialist Athletic," he wanted to train like any other sailor. He struck as a gunner's mate and began his training here in Norfolk. He later served as a 40mm gun captain on the Norfolk-built battleship USS Alabama (BB-60).
When I started to work on an article about the "NTS Nine," the name of Naval Training Station Norfolk's baseball team in World War II, I got a phone call from Mr. Feller himself. He had heard through the grapevine that someone wanted to talk to him about his time in the Navy. He told me he was always more proud of his service in the Navy than his time in the Major Leagues. Shortly after the interview, he sent me the autographed picture shown above.
I strongly encourage you to visit our special section on our website to read about Feller's time here in Norfolk and the rest of the Major League players who gave up a life of luxury to serve their country.