Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller dies of leukemia
Bob Feller, the Iowa farm boy whose powerful right arm earned him the nickname "Rapid Robert" and made him one of baseball's greatest pitchers during a Hall of Fame career with the Cleveland Indians, has died. He was 92. Feller died at 9:15 p.m. on Wednesday night of acute leukemia at a hospice, said Bob DiBiasio, the Indians vice president of public relations.
Remarkably fit until late in life, Feller had suffered serious health setbacks in recent months. He was diagnosed with a form of leukemia in August, and while undergoing chemotherapy, he fainted and his heart briefly stopped. Eventually, he underwent surgery to have a pacemaker implanted. In November, he was hospitalized with pneumonia and Feller was recently released into hospice care.
Even as his health deteriorated, Feller continued doing what he loved most — attending Indians games deep into last season.
"Nobody lives forever and I've had a blessed life," Feller said in September. "I'd like to stay on this side of the grass for as long as I can, though. I'd really like to see the Indians win a World Series."
Feller, in fact, was part of the rotation the last time the Indians won it all — in 1948.
Fiercely proud and patriotic, Feller was an American original. He won 266 games during 18 seasons — all with the Indians, who brought him up to the majors as a 17-year old. Feller's win total remains a Cleveland team record, one that seems almost untouchable in today's free-agent era.
Feller was part of a vaunted Indians' rotation in the 1940s and '50s with fellow Hall of Famers Bob Lemon and Early Wynn. He finished with 2,581 career strikeouts, led the American League in strikeouts seven times, pitched three no-hitters — including the only one on opening day — and recorded a jaw-dropping 12 one-hitters.
His numbers would no doubt have been even greater had his career not been interrupted by World War II.
The first pitcher to win 20 games before he was 21, Feller was enshrined in Cooperstown in 1962, his first year of eligibility.
The Indians retired his No. 19 jersey in 1957 and immortalized the greatest player in franchise history with a statue when they opened their downtown stadium in 1994. The sculpture is vintage Feller, captured forever in the middle of his patented windmill windup, rearing back to fire another pitch.
■ The New York Yankees finalized their minor league contract with right-hander Mark Prior, who is trying to make it back to the major leagues for the first time since 2006. Still trying to come back from shoulder surgery, Prior spent most of 2010 with the Golden Baseball League's Orange County Flyers.
■ Free agent infielder Ty Wigginton and the Colorado Rockies agreed to a two-year contract worth $8 million with a club option for 2013. The 33-year-old Wigginton became a first-time All-Star last season with Baltimore. He hit 22 home runs with 76 RBI.
NASCAR champ named Driver of Year
Jimmie Johnson, the five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, beat out NHRA Funny Car champion John Force for the Driver of the Year award on Wednesday. It's the fourth time Johnson has received the honor, tying him with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon for most wins in the award's 44-year history.
Journalists and broadcasters from across the country vote for Driver of the Year, which is eligible to any driver from any series that competes on four wheels in the United States.
Johnson received 10 votes to beat Force, who received seven votes. NASCAR driver Kyle Busch received one vote.
Report: Kansas to choose Cunningham
The Associated Press learned that Tulsa Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham is the No. 1 candidate to replace Lew Perkins at Kansas. A person close to the search process said a search committee submitted a short list of finalists to Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and ranked them in order of preference. At the top of the list is the 48-year-old Cunningham, who has been athletics director at Tulsa since 2005. Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart was originally mentioned as a possible candidate for the job.
■ Kentucky senior Lauren Rapp was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association's All-America honorable mention team. The senior finished her career with 1,280 career kills, seventh in Wildcats history. Her 423 career block assists ranks second at UK.
■ Louisville junior second baseman Ryan Wright was named a pre-season second-team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Wright hit .366 with 16 home runs and 80 RBI last season.
■ Transylvania senior Sarah Zembrodt (Notre Dame) was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America second team. Centre senior Brittany Garr (Sacred Heart) made the third team.
Girls' High School Basketball
Moss' double-double leads Boone Co.
Sydney Moss, the daughter of NFL wide receiver Randy Moss, scored 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the Boone County girls' 50-42 win at Newport Central Catholic.
■ Sacred Heart's Maddie Peabody went 4-for-7 from three-point range and scored 18 points to go with five assists in a 57-45 victory at Ballard. Morgan Clemons added 10 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals for the Valkyries (5-0). Javonna Layfield paced Ballard (1-3) with 16 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.
■ Morgan Crain scored a game-high 14 points to lead Paris to a 40-32 win at Harrison County.
Lochte's bid for eight golds ends quickly
Ryan Lochte's bid for eight gold medals at the short-course world championships ended in his second event when the United States failed to medal in the 400-meter freestyle relay Wednesday in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Lochte was off to a good start on the opening night of the meet with a dominant win in the 200 free, but the U.S. fell behind in the relay after Nathan Adrian's opening leg, leaving Lochte too much time to make up when he dived in for the anchor leg.
The last word
Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson wasn't aware of Terrell Owens' critical comments on his cable show, saying he watched something else on Tuesday night:
"I think Scooby-Doo was on."