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Navy Chief Connects to Baseball Great
MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) He was arguably the Major League's best pitcher in 1941.
But when the Japanese bombed Pearl harbor and pulled the United States into WWII, Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians put down his glove and gave himself to the United States Navy.
He eventually became a Navy Chief. It was a selfless act to be sure.
And now, only a few years after his death, three men have been given the first Bob Feller Act of Valor Award, reflecting all three positions he held in life.
For his years in the major leagues, the award goes to Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander.
To honor Feller's acceptance into Major League baseball's Hall of Fame, New York Yankee's legend Yogi Berra get the nod.
And then there's Garth Sinclair.
Why Garth Sinclair?
He's an outstanding Navy Chief, as was Bob Feller.
"Whether it was his country or his God or his team, he believed in service," said Sinclair, praising Feller.
On Friday, Sinclair stepped aboard the U.S.S. Alabama in Mobile.
What brought him there?
Once again, Bob Feller.
You see, when Feller went off to war in 1941, he landed, here, aboard the U.S.S. Alabama, as a gunner.
"The juxtaposition here where it's kind of like a vacation, but for him, it definitely was not," reflected the Navy chief.
Aboard the U.S.S. Alabama, Sinclair has been able to walk in the very footsteps of Bob Feller.
One such spot in a gunner position where Feller would stand while shoot some of the big guns aboard the ship.
"Whether kamikazes were on their way, or they were off the coast doing preparatory bombardment for an invasion, just getting from point A to point B was never a guarantee, either," said Sinclair.
To have his name linked to such baseball greats is amazing.
But to Sinclair, there is no greater honor than having his name mentioned in the same breath as U.S.S. Alabama's own Bob Feller.
"It's amazing," he said, "It's humbling."