Jan. 23, 1962 - Bob Feller and Jackie Robinson were elected today to the Hall of Fame. Feller, who pitched for the Cleveland Indians from 1936 through 1956, was an overwhelming first-ballot choice. Feller joined the Indians at the age of 17 and won 266 games, despite missing 4 years during his prime for World War II service. Robinson, the first Negro to play in the major leagues, was a Brooklyn Dodger infielder from 1947 through 1956. He reached his peak in 1949, when he was league batting champion with a .342 average and the National League’s most valuable player. Robinson twice led the National League in stolen bases and set a second-base fielding record in 1951 with only 7 errors and a .992 fielding percentage. Like Feller, he was eligible for selection for the first time this year. Robinson was named on 124 of the 160 ballots, only four more than the minimum 75% (or 120) needed for election. Feller’s selection on all except 10 of the 160 ballots marked the nearest thing to a unanimous selection since the late Lou Gehrig was chosen by acclamation shortly before his death in 1939. Not even Joe DiMaggio, who won a Hall of Fame place in 1955, was selected in the first election for which he was eligible.
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