Monday, June 23, 2008

Bob Feller is an Incredible Ass

The NYT's Jack Curry sits down for interviews with Lonny Frey and Bob Feller, the only two remaining players from the 1939 All-Star Game.

Frey, who is 98 and obviously not in the best of health, comes off like a humble, aw-shucks kind of player who was just happy to be there (and here). Feller, who at 89 is still incredibly sharp and active, comes off like a pompous ass:
Gehrig, another legendary Yankee, was the honorary captain for the A.L. that day, having ended his streak of 2,130 consecutive games played two months earlier. A week before the All-Star Game, the Yankees retired Gehrig’s No. 4 during an appreciation day. It was the first number retired in baseball. That day, Gehrig, who was dying from a neurological disease, called himself “the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”

Frey said he remembered Gehrig’s powerful words and felt sympathy for a fellow player. Feller said Gehrig’s speech grew more powerful as the years passed. Regarding Gehrig saying he was the “luckiest man,” Feller bluntly said: “He’s wrong. I am. I’m still alive.”
Wow. I have always been keenly aware of the profound irony surrounding Gehrig's death from a disease that robbed him of the very thing -- motor skills and muscle control -- that made him so formidable. The only cause of death which would inspire a comparable sense of irony with respect to Feller would be a fatal case of lockjaw.

Curry has a post at Bats this morning as well, providing some sidebar material to the Feller portion of the interview. Not surprisingly, it doesn't do much to make him seem any more humble of a fellow.


Anonymous said...

Wow. What a @#$!@#. Still, I think we have to chalk that up to the rambling of an old man who has seen pretty much all of his friends die off one by one over the past few years.


Anonymous said...

I'm with Feller. What's so lucky about dying of a horrific disease in your 30s? I never understood that. Did he sell his soul to become a great ballplayer, only he had to die young? Doesn't sound so great to me.

Monroe said...

I was maybe ten years old when I met Bob Feller at a baseball card show in Cincinnati. This was in the 1970s, way back before players charged for autographs. Typically at these conventions, autographs came with the price of admission.

Bob Feller was sitting at a table and approached him with my ball, "Mr Feller can I please have your autograph?" "That'll be three dollars," he responded. I thought he must be joking, so I held the ball out for him, but he wouldn't take the bait. "Seriously kid, three bucks. You can get your ticket by the front door."

To my shame, I paid the man - but I haven't paid for another autograph since. I still have the ball, but it means nothing to me, other than serving as a reminder that such autographs are no more meaningful than the intimacy between a whore and a john.

Which leads us to the oft-repeated query: what's the rarest of Bob Feller collectibles? A photo without his signature.

Daniel said...

You give older folks a pass on a lot of things, but Feller isn't just telling amusing anecdotes, he's telling them with a greatly heightened sense of self-importance, which is what's so annoying. The guy was a great pitcher and I thank him for his service to the country, but man, he does come off as a pompous ass.

Brian said...

Way to miss the point of the speech too anonymous #2.