Is Booing Bob Feller Ok?

August 3, 1948

The following letters were originally published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on August 4, 1948, by Sports Editor Gordon Cobbledick in his daily column, Plain Dealing. No letter has been altered in any way and they are reprinted now in their entirety without correction.

I have a confession to make. I am a “poor sport.” I booed Bob Feller when he pitched several games, either home or abroad. I plead guilty and I’m thoroughly ashamed of myself. I should have known that to have the understanding and encouragement from friends is the greatest of all blessings. I failed in this respect.

I hope Bob Feller will accept my apologies and from now on I soberly promise to cheer him, win or lose, for there is no greater pride than in being an admirer of the best Cleveland Indians. I’ve learned my lesson.

Miss Charrylle Kayne 2964 E. Derbyshire Road, Cleveland Heights

*** *** *** *** ***

If Bill Veeck is so determined to win a pennant this year, why does the obsession exist that Feller must pitch every fourth day? Feller is a milstone hanging on the collective necks of that team. If they win it will be in spite of Feller…Get Feller out of there until he establishes his right to a turn in the box, and Cleveland may yet win the pennant.

R. D. Bundy 94 E. 212th Street, Eucild, O.

*** *** *** *** ***

…Ball players, as a rule, should pay no attention to the boos and jeers of the fans; however, no living ball player could stand up under the treatment Feller is receiving. It is tough enough to be jeered on the road, let alone in your own ball yard.

The salary Bob receives is no fan’s business. He obtained his contract from Bill Veeck, a shrewd operator and a person who has brought to Cleveland a team the fans should be proud of.

He wrote a book? That he did. More power to him. I wish I could publish one and cash in on its sales as Bob did. I’m sure his pitching arm wasn’t affected by holding the pen or pencil.

If he barnstormed, that is also his business. He obtained permission from the league’s president and from Bill Veeck and Lou Boudreau.

Bob Feller has been loyal to the Indians and to the Cleveland fans. He always was and still is an idol of the youngsters. He has set a fine example for them by his conduct both on and off the field.

The Indians will win the pennant and they will achieve this goal with Bob Feller very much in the limelight. He is still one of baseball’s great pitchers.

Franklin D. Burger 3069 W. 160th Street, Lakewood

*** *** *** *** ***

A terrific amount of hogwash has been printed concerning Bob Feller’s debt to baseball. It is time that someone mentioned that this theory of indebtedness is one of the most outstanding examples of inverse conclusion ever concocted by short-memoried pseudo sports followers. Think of what organized baseball owes to Feller!

Only twice in the history of the game have personalities in baseball arisen to create a debt out of proportion to salary received. Whether or not Babe Ruth and Bob Feller are the greatest players of all time may be argued, but surely not that they are the greatest box office attractions. The owners of eight American League clubs must recognize that these two men provided pay dirt many times in excess of the seemingly high salaries they have commanded.

It certainly is fun to kick the hide off a fellow when he’s down. Oh, well, we are thankful that our lungs are sufficiently three-ply to cancel out the efforts of several boo birds.

Cal Furlong, Berea.

*** *** *** *** ***

I am an old guy 92 years old. I do not consider the Cleveland Indians are getting fair treatment. Bob Feller is not trying to wreck the ball club. If some of his critics could do as well as Bob does they might have some excuse for booing. Some of them get a few drinks of Hoot & Holler and then want to attract attention to themselves with a big boo.

I am for the Indians all the way and I think Bob Feller will make it up if given a fair show. But booing will not do it.

T.E. (Dad) Wellman, Conneaut, O.

Photo: Cleveland Memory Project

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