Bob Feller: 1918-2010

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Sad news out of Iowa tonight.

Keith Murphy of WHO in Des Moines passes along word that Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller has died at the age of 92 in a Cleveland hospice.

Feller was hospitalized with pneumonia a few weeks ago and previously fought a battle against leukemia.

Born November 3, 1918 in the small farming town of Van Meter, Iowa, he went on to win 266 games over 18 big league seasons — all with the Indians.   He retired after 1956 with a sparkling 3.25 career ERA and 2,581 strikeouts.

Feller struck out 348 batters and turned in a 2.18 ERA over 371.1 innings in 1946, his finest season.

But it was in 1941 that he made his biggest splash.

After Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Feller became the first Major League Baseball player to enlist in the armed forces, joining the NAVY and serving as a gun captain on the USS Alabama during what might have been the prime of his baseball career.  He served four years and was decorated with five campaign ribbons and eight stars throughout his military service.

Feller was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.