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From BR Bullpen
Lawrence Eugene Doby
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 182 lb.
- School Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus
- High School East Side High School
- Debut July 5, 1947
- Final Game July 26, 1959
- Born December 13, 1923 in Camden, SC USA
- Died June 18, 2003 in Montclair, NJ USA
 Biographical Information
"Boy, could he play baseball." - Negro Leaguer Buck O'Neil
"I always admired his play." - Al Rosen, the 1953 American League MVP
In 1942, Doby played for the Newark Eagles, under the pseudonym of "Larry Walker" to protect his amateur status and played his first pro game at Yankee Stadium. In 1943, he played for the Paterson (NJ) Panthers, becoming the first African American to play in the American Basketball League, a fore-runner to the NBA. During World War II, he missed two seasons (1944 and 1945) while serving in the United States Navy.
Doby was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1947. He started the American League on the road to integration when he became the first black player to appear in an AL game on July 5, 1947, less than three months after Jackie Robinson had broken the color barrier in the National League. He did not have much success that first year, but became the club's regular centerfielder in 1948 when the Indians won the World Series. He slugged 32 home runs in 1952, becoming the first black player to lead either major league in homers. He hit 32 home runs again and drove in 126 runs for the great 1954 Cleveland Indians, who won 111 games. He was second in the MVP voting that year.
On July 30, 1954, he made what is regarded as one of the greatest catches in Indians history. Playing the Washington Senators, he robbed Tom Umphlett of an apparent game-tying home run by leaping above the fence at Cleveland Municipal Stadium near the 380-foot mark and backhanding the ball with the top of his glove, his torso entirely above the fence. He then came down on the awning above the bullpen located behind the fence, bounced off it and fell back onto the playing field still holding the ball. Left fielder Al Smith raced over and retrieved the ball from the knocked-out Doby's mitt to keep the baserunner from advancing.
Doby later went on to serve as a coach for the Montreal Expos from 1971 to 1973 and a member of the Cleveland Indians staff in 1974. He returned to the Expos in 1976 and was a Chicago White Sox coach in 1977 and 1978. He also managed the Sox in the second half of the 1978 campaign. His son Larry Doby Jr. played in the minors.
It took some time for Larry Doby to be recognized as a pioneer of integration whose importance is close to that of the great Jackie Robinson. In spite of his impeccable numbers and character, he had to wait until 1998 to be inducted in the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. However, he received more frequent honors from that point onward. Chief among these was having the Most Valuable Player Award for the annual Futures Game named the "Larry Doby Award" in his honor. On July 20, 2012, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp with his likeness as part of a series of four stamps honoring Hall of Famers.
 Notable Achievements
- 7-time AL All-Star (1949-1955)
- AL On-Base Percentage Leader (1950)
- AL Slugging Percentage Leader (1952)
- AL OPS Leader (1950)
- AL Runs Scored Leader (1952)
- 2-time AL Home Runs Leader (1952 & 1954)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 8 (1949-1956)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1952 & 1954)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 5 (1950, 1952-1954 & 1956)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (1949, 1950 & 1952)
- Won a World Series with the Cleveland Indians in 1948
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1998
|Chicago White Sox Manager
 Further Reading
- Larry Doby (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, November 1973, pp. 69-71. 
- Ken Saultner: "Larry Doby's 'The Catch'", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 39, Number 1 (Summer 2010), p. 103.