Thursday, July 05, 2007

Profile: The second man

Nice profile of the late Larry Doby, the second man:

. . . of African-American descent to play major league baseball;
. . . of African-American descent to manage a major league team.

Doby integrated the American League the same year (1947) that Jackie Robinson integrated the NL. Doby personified quiet dignity amidst the racist opposition to his presence in the game. And he was always underappreciated as the second man to integrate because he never received the recognition for what he endured in the way Jackie Robinson did.

After coming to the majors as a secondbaseman, Doby played center field for the Indians from 1948-55. But for the dynastic Yankees, Doby could have had more rings -- the Indians won the pennant and World Series in '48, won the AL pennant in '54 and finished second in '51, '52, '53, and '55. He finally obtained his overdue place in the Hall of Fame in 1998, five years before his death.

Read the whole profile, which is filled with nice remembrances from Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller ("Larry Doby was a better ballplayer than Jackie Robinson") and Jim "Mudcat" Grant -- who idolized Doby as a young kid, then played with Doby as an Indian in 1959 (and who is one of only "12 black aces" -- the 12 African-American pitchers to win 20 games in a season).

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