Saturday, May 27, 2023


On the blog today, adding to a fun thread I started somewhat recently, a 1972 sub-set celebrating ballplayers that began their careers in the Negro Leagues before coming to the N.L./A.L. later on, this time the great Larry Doby, the first African-American player in American League history:

Doby began his professional career at the age of 18, suiting up for the Newark Eagles at second base in 1942, putting in parts of three seasons before heading off to the Military in 1945.
He'd be back to playing ball in 1946 with Newark, and would lead the Negro Leagues with 85 hits, 10 triples  and 138 total bases while making his first All-Star team.
In 1947, just a few months after Jackie Robinson broke the MLB color-barrier playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the National League, Doby would do the same in the American League, donning the uniform of the Cleveland Indians, appearing in 29 games.
Though his initial start with Cleveland was a bit rough, to the tune of a .156 batting average over 32 at-bats, Doby would immediately find his stroke in 1948, hitting .301 for the eventual World Champions, scoring 83 runs while hitting 14 homers with 23 doubles and nine triples, even garnering some MVP attention at season's end.
He would make seven All-Star teams while with Cleveland, with MVP consideration in four of those campaigns.
He'd lead the A.L. in homers twice with 32 in both 1952 and 1954, while leading the league with 126 RBIs in the latter season, one of five seasons he'd top 100.
Never given enough praise for his ground-breaking MLB debut, often overshadowed by Jackie Robinson's debut just before him, I'm happy to see his place in Big League history getting more and more attention as time passes.
Thankfully, he was also given his rightful place in the Hall of Fame, having been selected for enshrinement in 1998, though far too late in my opinion, but at least before he passed away, which he did on June 18th of 2003 at the age of 79.


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