Bob Feller made his major league debut when most teenagers were learning how to drive. He wasn’t in awe. The Iowa farm boy was no rube when it came to pitching. After a successful debut in the second half of the 1936 season, Feller was becoming a national sensation. He wound up on the cover of multiple national publications before his 21st birthday including the February 1939 issue of Baseball Magazine. Now the actual photo used to create that cover is on the auction block.
Taken by legendary photographer Charles Conlon and signed on the back with his handwritten notes as well, the image was used by the photo editors at the magazine, which arrived as baseball fans were anticipating a season that would see Lou Gehrig’s streak come to an end.
Feller led the American League in wins that season with 24, complete games with 24, innings pitched with 296.2 and strikeouts with 246.
Conlon’s career as a photographer was winding down as Feller rose to prominence and the photo is the only Conlon image of Feller the auction company has ever handled.
The 6 ½ x 8 ½” photo is one of several hundred Conlon works being offered by the auction company in its Holiday Auction, which continues through December 16 at RMYAuctions.com.