Like Cleveland needed this: Indians Hall of Famer Bob Feller, diagnosed with leukemia in August,has been moved to hospice care.
Feller, 92, was a 17-year-old Iowa farmboy when the Indians signed him in 1936. He never spent a day in the minors and won 266 games in 18 seasons -- missing 3 1/2 years in the heart of his career to serve in the Navy during World War II.
I met him a couple different times: once at a card show and once when he came to Fort Wayne to throw out the first pitch and sign autographs at a Wizards game. The first time he struck me as an embittered and utterly unpleasant man, and I came away wondering what the heck someone who accomplished what he did had to be so sour about. The second time, he came off merely as a crusty old guy who spoke his mind and didn't much give a hang what anybody thought about it.
He also signed stuff forever that night. And I remembered, suddenly, that this was the same man who came all the way to Fort Wayne in the early 1960s to help boost Wildcat baseball. And I decided my initial impression, as initial impressions often are, was superficial and inaccurate.
So, a lesson learned. And if only for that alone, a prayer for the man goes out from this locale.