Feller to be honored by Tribe all season

Feller to be honored by Tribe all season

Feller to be honored by Tribe all season
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians are planning to honor Bob Feller's life with a year-long celebration nearly as large as the man's legend.

The festivities will begin with Opening Day -- sold out for the 18th consecutive season -- and continue throughout the 2011 campaign. Feller, a Hall of Famer and franchise icon, died in December at the age of 92.

On April 1, the Indians are scheduled to open the regular season with an afternoon affair against the rival White Sox, the team victimized in Feller's Opening Day no-hitter in 1940. During the pregame introductions at the home opener, Indians players will each wear a jersey with Feller's No. 19 on the back.

The gates will open at 1 p.m. ET and the pregame tribute to Feller is scheduled to begin at roughly 2:30 p.m. The Indians will show a video highlighting Feller's life and there will also be a special banner presentation. Feller's widow, Anne, will also present a "silent" ceremonial first pitch before the ballgame.

Feller's No. 19 will be displayed behind the pitcher's mound and it will be featured on a memorial patch on the sleeves of the Tribe's jerseys throughout the season. The patch features a silhouette of Feller's famous high leg-kick delivery, the one he used in firing blazing fastballs and knee-buckling curves.

The Tribe will also hold a July 4 celebration for Feller, who was inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame in 1962. During that game, fans will have the chance to receive a replica bronze Feller statue. Memorial murals will also be displayed in Heritage Park and in the upper-deck seating bowl at the stadium.

Outside the ballpark, street poles will be adorned with banners in honor of Feller, who owns the club record for wins with 266, despite spending a portion of his prime serving in World War II. Inside the press box, the seat Feller frequently occupied will be off-limits, paying tribute to his love of the ballclub.

A public memorial service for Feller will take place at 11 a.m. on March 31 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights. Rev. Conrad Selnick, the rector of St. Christopher's by the River Epicoscopal Church in Gate Mills, where Feller lived, will officiate.

The doors will open at 10 a.m. and the service will be aired live on SportsTime Ohio with Bruce Drenna, former Indians broadcaster and current host of STO's "All Bets Are Off," hosting. Seating and parking for the event is limited. The service will be replayed on STO at 6 p.m. that day.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.