IF THE PHILLIES need an extra pitcher, they can tap Hall of Famer Bob Feller.
Feller, who is 90 years young, pitched to two batters in yesterday's Baseball Hall of Fame Classic at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y.
This is the first year for the game, which replaced the Hall of Fame Game exhibition between teams of active players. Commissioner Bud Selig decided it had become too difficult to squeeze in the extra game each season. Yesterday's game, which included five Hall of Famers and nearly two dozen former big-leaguers, was far more entertaining than a meaningless exhibition. At one point, an 11-year-old even got into the act.
Team Wagner defeated Team Collins (the squads were named after Honus Wagner and Eddie Collins), 5-4, but no one cared about the outcome.
Feller, starting for Wagner, pitched to Paul Molitor and Bobby Grich.
Grich and Feller even exchanged words after "Rapid Robert" threw one a little too close for comfort.
"I feel real good. I almost worked up a sweat," Feller told the Associated Press. "I missed the plate a couple of times, but I need more outfielders. About 10."
In his heyday, Feller didn't need any help.
He spent his entire 18-year career with the Indians and was 266-162. Amazingly, he completed 279 of his 484 starts.
Early in the game, 11-year-old Zach D'Errico, from Schenectady, N.Y., was plucked from the stands by former major leaguer Steve Lyons.
Lyons, perhaps living up to his nickname "Psycho," put the youngster at shortstop.
The result? D'Errico fielded a one-hopper and helped turn a 6-4-3 doubleplay. *
- Tom Mahon