Larry Doby may be best known for being the second Black player in major league baseball, and the first to integrate the American League, but he achieved far more. The Camden, S.C. native was born December 13th 1923.
Doby, a multi-sport high school athlete in Paterson, N.J., began his pro baseball career with the Negro National League’s Newark Eagles. In July 1947, months after Robinson’s history-making debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Doby made his debut for the Cleveland Indians.
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In the American League, Doby endured the same violent racism and prejudice that Robinson did, handling it with as much dignity as he could. His trials, however, enjoyed less fanfare than Robinson despite their many similarities. While Doby may have been shortchanged in media coverage and notoriety in comparison to Robinson, the pair were friends. Doby admired his Dodgers counterpart and was even a pallbearer at his funeral.
Doby made the All-Star team seven times, was a two-time AL home run leader, and a World Series champion, among other accolades. He stayed involved in baseball at a scout and eventually reached the executive level. In 1978, the Chicago White Sox named him as their manager, making him the second to reach that seat after Frank Robinson. Doby was also a longtime executive with the NBA’s New Jersey Nets.
In July 1998, Doby was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, an honor he accepted with the same humility he played with.
Doby passed in 2003. He and his wife Helyn, who passed two years before him, were married for 55 years and had five children.
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