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12/08/10 10:30 PM EST
Tribe legend Feller enters hospice care
Hall of Fame's longest-tenured living member battling leukemia
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Hall of Famer Bob Feller has been tranferred from the Cleveland Clinic to hospice care for the terminally ill, according to Bob DiBiasio, the Indians vice president of public relations. Feller, 92, battling leukemia, was recently admitted to the Clinic due to a bout with pneumonia. The latest developement is yet another setback in a series of medical issues that have hindered the pitching great over the past few months. In August, Feller was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a form of cancer in which the white blood cells interfere with the production of normal blood cells. Feller had to have about two quarts of blood infused into his system and began receiving chemotherapy. In September, Feller had a pacemaker installed to combat a heart ailment and also had a bout with vertigo. The most recent trip to the Clinic came after Feller developed a case of thrush, which is an infection of the mucus membrane lining of the mouth and tongue. The thrush interfered with Feller's ability to eat, limiting his strength. Strength and spirit -- a combination that has helped Feller display an energy that defied his age in recent years -- have long been two of the former pitcher's best attributes. Feller debuted with the Indians at the age of 17 in 1936, following a childhood spent in Van Meter, Iowa. Discovered by scout Cy Slapnicka, Feller agreed to sign with the Indians for $1 and an autographed baseball. Feller then went on to pitch 18 seasons for the Tribe, posting a 266-162 record to set the franchise record for wins. The right-hander led the American League in strikeouts seven times, was named to eight All-Star teams and missed three years of his prime while serving in World War II. "Rapid Robert" tossed three no-hitters, including the lone Opening Day no-hitter in baseball history. Beyond victories, he is Cleveland's all-time leader in innings (3,827), strikeouts (2,581), complete games (279) and starts (484). Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962, Feller represents the longest-tenured living member of baseball's elite class. Cleveland retired his No. 19 in 1957.