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1936: 17-year old Bob Feller strikes out 17

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Bob Feller was only 17 when he struck out 17:  

On this day in 1936, 17-year-old Cleveland Indians pitching ace “Rapid” Robert Feller strikes out 17 batters in a game, setting a new American League record. Feller allowed just two hits in the game to help his team to a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia A’s.

Feller was born November 3, 1918, in Van Meter, Iowa. An only child, he spent his days pitching against the side of a barn on his family’s farm.

At just 16 years old, in July 1935, Feller signed with Cy Slapnicka, a Cleveland Indian scout, in exchange for an autographed baseball and one dollar.

On August 25, 1936, when he was still only 17, Feller made his first start, striking out 15 St. Louis Browns with a blazing fastball and knee-buckling curveball that would be the hallmarks of his long and storied career.

On September 13, Feller started the first game of a double-header against the Philadelphia A’s at League Park in Cleveland. The young pitcher’s fastball was effective from the start and he was soon racking up strikes at a pace unseen in the American League since Rube Waddell of the St. Louis Browns struck out 16 batters in 1908.

Feller’s 17 strikeouts that day tied Dizzy Dean’s modern major league record, set in 1933.

Two years later, on the last day of the 1938 season, Feller broke Dean’s record when he struck out 18 Detroit Tigers, setting a modern record that would stand for 31 years. (It was finally broken in 1969 by St. Louis Cardinals’ pitcher, Steve Carlton.

He was fantastic, one of the all time greats:  266 wins, 279 complete games, 44 shutouts and a 3.25 ERA.

Written by scantojr

September 13, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in Baseball Hall of Fame

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