When I was nine years old I dreamed of being Bobby Feller. I forget about that dream for long stretches, but then something comes back to remind me of it. Recently it was a profile of Feller by Tyler Kepner in the March 7 New York Times. I learned that at age 88 Feller suits up every day. He is often called a hero because of his World War II service, but he responds to this term by saying, “Heroes don’t come home; survivors come home.” In prewar 1938 he made the cover of both Life and Time.
As a boy, many a summer morning I’d (mentally) suit up as Bobby, and for a couple of hours I’d pitch a rubber baseball at a chalked strike zone on the steps of my house. (Though the big Ds of my childhood—Drought, Depression, Dust Bowl—were ending, investments in chalk and a rubber baseball were still luxuries.)