CLEVELAND -- Hall of Famer Bob Feller's continued battle with leukemia has led to another hospital stay, this time because of a bout with pneumonia. Feller, who turned 92 earlier this month, has been in the Cleveland Clinic the past week getting treatment for pneumonia, according to Indians vice president of public relations Bob DiBiasio, and is said to be getting stronger. While getting treatment for the leukemia, Feller came down with 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, thus limiting his strength and leaving him more susceptible to pneumonia.
It has been a difficult run of poor health for Feller, who, prior to this summer, had an indefatigable spirit and energy that belied his age. In August, Feller was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a form of cancer in which abnormal 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 treatments. In September, Feller had a pacemaker installed to combat a heart ailment and also had a bout with vertigo. Feller made his Major League debut with the Indians in 1936, at the age of 17, after growing up in the Iowa cornfields and catching the eye of scout Cy Slapnicka. After signing with the Tribe for $1 and an autographed baseball, Feller went on to pitch 18 seasons for the Indians, going 266-162 to set the team record for victories. He led the American League in strikeouts seven times, was an eight-time All-Star, pitched three no-hitters, including the only Opening Day no-hitter in history, and 12 one-hitters. He missed three years of his prime while serving in the Navy during World War II. Feller was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962. He is the third-oldest living member of the Hall and the longest-tenured living member. The Indians are expecting to honor Feller's 50 years as a Hall of Famer next summer.