Lawrence Eugene Doby
Nicknames: Larry, LD
aka: Larry Walker
Career: 1942-1943, 1946-1947
Positions: 2b, 3b
Teams: Newark Eagles (1942-1943, 1946-1947), military service (1944-1945), major leagues (1947-1959), minor leagues (1960), Japanese League (1962)
Height: 6' 1'' Weight: 175
Born: December 13, 1923, Camden, South Carolina
Died: June 18, 2003
A hard-hitting second baseman, Larry Doby starred for the 1946 champion Newark Eagles, played in the All Star game, and finished the season with a .341 average and only 1 home run behind the league leaders, Josh Gibson and Johnny Davis.
The following year, the fastball hitter went straight to the major leagues from the Negro Leagues, leaving behind a .414 batting average, and played a handful of games as an infielder for the Cleveland Indians. In 1948 he switched to the outfield and won a starting position, hitting .301 for the pennant-winning Indians and .318 in their World Series victory over the Braves.
Two years later, Larry recorded his best major-league batting average, hitting .326 for the season. The left-handed swinger led the American League in home runs in 1952 and 1954, with 32 round-trippers each year. The latter year he also led the league with 126 RBIs as he powered the Indians to another pennant. Altogether he had five seasons with over 100 RBIs. In a thirteen-year major league career spent mostly with the Indians, Larry belted a total of 253 home runs and hit for a lifetime average of .283.
His father was a semi-pro baseball player but died when Doby was eight years old. By the time he was a teenager, he was all-state in football, basketball, and baseball at Paterson (N.J.) East Side High School and attended Long Island University. In 1942, when he broke in with the Eagles, he played under the name of Larry Walker to protect his amateur standing. The next season, playing under his own name, he was a sensation in fielding the keystone position and in demonstrating power at the plate and speed on the bases.
The next two years were spent in the U.S. Navy, but he rejoined the Eagles in time to help them win a Negro National League pennant and World Series over the Kansas City Monarchs. Two years later he would again be playing on a winning World Series team, this time in the major leagues with the Cleveland Indians. He is one of only four players, along with Monte Irvin, Willie Mays, and Satchel Paige, to play in both a Negro World Series and a major league World Series. Doby also played in All Star games in both leagues, appearing in the 1946 East-West game in the Negro Leagues and making six straight appearances (1949-1954) in the major league All Star game.
After his major league career ended, he played briefly with San Diego in the Pacific Coast League and extended his career by playing in Japan. Later he coached for the Montreal Expos, Cleveland Indians, and Chicago White Sox and managed the White Sox during the last four months of the 1978 season.
Baseball Career Highlights:
Doby was instrumental in helping the Newark Eagles win a Negro National League pennant. He was a key component in the Eagles' defeat of the Kansas City Monarchs in the 1946 Negro Leagues World Series. He finished the season only one home run behind league leaders Johnny Davis and Josh Gibson and hit .341.
The first black player in the American League, Doby joined the Cleveland Indians in July 1947, just three months after Jackie Robinson signed with the National Leagues' Brooklyn Dodgers.
In 1948, as a starting outfielder, Doby was a dominant force in the Indians' World Series defeat of the Boston Braves. Doby is one of only four Negro Leagues players (Monte Irvin, Willie Mays and Satchel Paige) to play in both a Negro Leagues and Major League World Series.
When Doby left the Indians, he played in the Pacific Coast League in San Diego, California, and in Japan. After playing baseball for nearly 20 years, he coached the Montreal Expos, Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. In 1978, as manager of the Chicago White Sox, he became the second black manager in Major League history.
Awards, Honors, Titles, Championships,
• World Series - 1948
• All Star Centerfielder - 1949-1954
• Chicago White Sox Manager - 1978
(Second black major league manager)
• Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee - 1998
• Retired Cleveland Indians' Jersey #14
NLBM Legacy 2000 Players' Reunion Alumni Book, Kansas City Missouri: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc., 2000.
James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.