The Bob Feller Story: A DVD Review
- Updated: January 15, 2009
Bob Feller seems to be an almost forgotten baseball name outside of the city of Cleveland, but throughout the DVD, the viewers are reminded that he was without a doubt the greatest pitcher of his time and his accomplishments were such that he should be mentioned in the same sentences as Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio.
The DVD chronicles Feller’s journey and provides fans with interesting tidbits about Feller’s life that many do not know. For instance, he and his father were the inspiration behind the movie Field of Dreams as Bob’s father Bill built his son his very own baseball diamond with some of the 300 acres of farm land that they owned in Iowa.
The video also tells the story of how he was found by the Cleveland Indians and how the commissioner of baseball at the time tried to make it so Feller was not allowed to play with Cleveland. Since the Indians signed Feller when he was 17 years old, they broke one of the baseball rules at the time which stated that only minor league teams were allowed to sign players who were not yet 18 years of age. This ruling was overturned however when the commissioner realized that Feller would have essentially become a free agent if he was set free from the Indians and that could have been a disaster for baseball at that time.
It turns out that Feller was also one of the first players to use their name to sell products and the right hander may have been featured on more products than anyone before or since.
The video features snippets of various people talking about Feller, many of whom hail from Cleveland and many others who are simply labeled as baseball historians. If one thing is for sure, it’s that all of them note Feller’s time fighting for his country as his proudest time. One person even recalled that when Feller was asked what the best game he ever won was, the pitcher recalled, “World War II.”
Even though Feller would have probably had about 80 more wins (which would have put him in the 300 win club) and over 1,000 more strikeouts had he not went to war, when asked if he ever regretted his decision, Feller quickly replied that he never had.
In the video, Feller is also depicted as a man who was at least partly responsible for the formation of the player’s union. Due to the fact that he was one of the first players to sign a contract which provided incentives for things such as rises at the gate, Feller revolutionized the way owners would pay players even though the advent of free agency was decades in the future.
Overall, the work is very informative and provides an interesting look into the life of one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. With this in mind, it should only be viewed by true fans of the game and not those who are looking for entertainment as its documentary form may tend to bore those who are not very interested in the topic.
The Grade: 4/5
Bill Jordan is a contributor to BaseballReflections.com and can be reached by e-mail at BillJordaniv@yahoo.com.