Bob Feller, who pitched for the Cleveland Indians from 1936 to 1956, died Wednesday in Cleveland. In Alan Schwarz’s 2006 book, Once Upon a Game: Baseball’s Greatest Memories, he spoke of his decision to leave professional baseball after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and enlist in the United States Navy.
A lot of folks say that had I not missed those almost four seasons to World War II — during what was probably my physical prime — I might have had 370 or even 400 wins. But I have no regrets. None at all. I did what any American could and should do: serve his country in its time of need. The world’s time of need.
I knew then, and I know today, that winning World War II was the most important thing to happen to this country in the last 100 years. I’m just glad I was a part of it.