On January 23 1962 — Pitcher Bob Feller and infielder Jackie Robinson are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America in their first year of eligibility.
Jackie Robinson burst onto the scene in 1947, breaking baseball’s color barrier and bringing the Negro leagues’ electrifying style of play to the Majors. He quickly became baseball’s top drawing card and a symbol of hope to millions of Americans. With Robinson as the catalyst, the Dodgers won six pennants in his 10 seasons. He dominated games on the basepaths, stealing home 19 times while riling opposing pitchers with his daring baserunning style. Robinson was named National League MVP in 1949, leading the loop in hitting (.342) and steals (37), while knocking in 124 runs.
Bob Feller’s blazing fastball set the standard against which all of his successors have been judged. Rapid Robert spent his entire 18-year career with Cleveland, amassing 266 victories and 2,581 strikeouts, while leading the league in strikeouts seven times. He missed nearly four full seasons in his prime serving his country during World War II, for which he was decorated with five campaign ribbons studded with eight battle stars. Fresh from high school, Feller struck out 17 Athletics in 1936. The fireballer authored three no-hitters and 12 one-hitters while winning 20 or more games six times.