Bobby Doerr was one of the finest second basemen of his era. Spending his entire career with the Boston Red Sox, he led the league in fielding percentage four times. In 1948 he set a since-broken record for men at his position by handling 414 consecutive chances without an error.
His production on offense was rare for middle infielders of his day. In his 14-year career he had 8 seasons with 90 or more RBI, six times topping the 100-RBI mark. A model of consistency, Doerr batted .289 for his career and hit under .270 just once after his rookie season.
Though he missed 1945 because of World War II, Doerr made the all star team every year but two from 1941 until he retired in 1951.
If his military time affected his play, he didn’t show it. Upon his return to baseball in 1946, Doerr helped lead the Red Sox to their first World Series since 1918. Once there, he flourished on baseball’s biggest stage, hitting .409, with a double and a homer in the seven-game loss to the Cardinals.
When he retired in 1951, only two second baseman in MLB history had more home runs – Cooperstown men Rogers Hornsby and Joe Gordon. Doerr set Red Sox records for career games (1,865), at bats (7,093), hits (2,042), doubles (381), total bases (3,270) and runs batted in (1,247). Ted Williams later surpassed Doerr in each category.
Later Doerr scouted and coached at the minor and major league levels for the Red Sox. His final job in baseball was with the expansion Toronto Blue Jays as hitting coach from 1977-1981. Doerr was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. Two years later, the Red Sox retired Doerr’s uniform #1 in 1988.
Before he passed away at 99 years old in 2017 he was both the oldest former player and the last living major leaguer from the 1930s. Among all members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Doerr lived the longest.
In the collection is this government postcard signed by Doerr during spring training in 1949.