Larry Doby left the Newark Eagles after the July 2nd contest. At the time of his departure he led the Eagles in most offensive categories. In 30 games played his numbers included 8 homers, 41 RBI, a .354 average, .438 on-base percentage, and a .743 slugging mark.
Doby played in 29 games for the Tribe in his first year in Cleveland. Along the way he acclimated himself to the trial and tribulations that came with being the league’s first African-American player. Doby entered spring training in ’48 with a better understanding of the challenges ahead. Soon he began a Hall of Fame ascent.
Through his first 13 games of the season, Doby hit .286 with 5 homers and 14 runs batted in. He finished the year with a .301 average and a 135 OPS+, helping the Indians win the World Series.
During his 13-year big league career, Doby hit 20 or more homers eight times. Twice he led the AL in long balls. The outfielder made the All Star Game every season from 1949-1955. During that 7-year run he slashed .286/.394/.505 with a 146 OPS+, averaging 27 homers and 95 RBI per season.
He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.
Shown here is the second page of Bob Feller’s letter from Doby’s first day in a big league uniform. In the correspondence he writes, “Have to…get my back worked on and see [Indians owner Bill] Veeck about some stuff.”
After missing the chance to call his wife the previous day because of the Doby announcement, Feller was eager to speak to her.
“Honey, hope you call tonight as I will be in all evening…” Feller closes the letter, “I love you Doll.” He then signs the letter “Bobby”.
Larry Doby deserves to be recognized on the same level of Jackie Robinson! As the first African-American in the American League, Doby went through all the same things Jackie did in the National League.
I agree in fact Larry Don’t in some ways had it worse because unlike Don’t he didn’t have the support of certain players such as Pee Wee Reese, Carl Erskine, and others.