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waroriole

Larry Doby

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I'm really not trying to sound like a contrarian here, but why does Larry Doby never get any attention for all that he did.

He really seems to have come up with the short end of the stick. They integrated their respective leagues at almost the exact time. Yet, Jackie Robinson's number is retired throughout baseball. Robinson has a day set aside to honor him each year by MLB. Robinson has movies made about him. Most people have no idea who Larry Doby was. Robinson received all the praise for being the first man to integrate baseball, but Doby endured the same things Robinson did, he just started a couple of months later.

It's a shame that MLB doesn't really acknowledge him. It would be nice if something were done to include Doby in Jackie Robinson's Day.

Edited by waroriole

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I'm really not trying to sound like a contrarian here, but why does Larry Doby never get any attention for all that he did.

He really seems to have come up with the short end of the stick. They integrated their respective leagues at almost the exact time. Yet, Jackie Robinson's number is retired throughout baseball. Robinson has a day set aside to honor him each year by MLB. Robinson has movies made about him. Most people have no idea who Larry Doby was. Robinson received all the praise for being the first man to integrate baseball, but Doby endured the same things Robinson did, he just started a week later.

It's a shame that MLB doesn't really acknowledge him. It would be nice if something were done to include Doby in Jackie Robinson's Day.

You aren't wrong, but there are reasons. Unlike Branch Rickey, who built media and public anticipation, Bill Veeck tried a no-big-deal strategy to introducing Doby - he initially kept the signing a secret and did not encourage press attention. Also, while Robinson was a 28 year old who came into the league as the starter at 2B (for a NYC team!), had over 700 PAs, won the RoY and came in 5th in the MVP voting, Doby was only 23, not that good yet, and played very sparingly, with total of 33 PA in 1947.

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You aren't wrong, but there are reasons. Unlike Branch Rickey, who built media and public anticipation, Bill Veeck tried a no-big-deal strategy to introducing Doby - he initially kept the signing a secret and did not encourage press attention. Also, while Robinson was a 28 year old who came into the league as the starter at 2B (for a NYC team!), had over 700 PAs, won the RoY and came in 5th in the MVP voting, Doby was only 23, not that good yet, and played very sparingly, with total of 33 PA in 1947.

Neither of those things should prevent MLB from including Doby in the celebrations that go on today.

I mean the guy was 5 years younger, and still showed the maturity of an incredibly stoic man in his 30's. I can understand why Jackie would be the big draw initially, but enough time has passed to honor Doby as much as Robinson.

Edited by waroriole

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Neither of those things should prevent MLB from including Doby in the celebrations that go on today.

I mean the guy was 5 years younger, and still showed the maturity of an incredibly stoic man in his 30's. I can understand why Jackie would be the big draw initially, but enough time has passed to honor Doby as much as Robinson.

I think you're right, but it's a matter of history and perception, and others have tried (and mostly failed) to draw attention to it.

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I also agree that mention should be made of Doby. Something over the weekend annoyed me on the MLB Network when Harold Reynolds (I think?) was talking about Jackie Robinson. He said that Robinson's entry paved the way for people like Doby, and as far as I knew the entry of both was simultaneous.

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I also agree that mention should be made of Doby. Something over the weekend annoyed me on the MLB Network when Harold Reynolds (I think?) was talking about Jackie Robinson. He said that Robinson's entry paved the way for people like Doby, and as far as I knew the entry of both was simultaneous.

Jackie's first game was April 15, 1947. Larry's first game was July 5, 1947.

I'm glad I looked this up, I always thought that Doby played his first game a week after Robinson.

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Larry Doby has played second fiddle to Jackie Robinson for far too long and now that there's a movie out about Jackie Robinson I really would like people to remember the first black man to play in the American League.

That's the thing about life before interleague play, Jackie Robinson was unknown to most of the American League crowd anyway. It was Larry Doby who had to listen to the same taunting, abuse, etc etc, and unlike Robinson, he wasn't a world beater as a rookie. Playing well earned Robinson a lot of respect quickly, at least with Dodgers fans, I don't know if he had it easier or harder than Doby because of that (it's not a competition). I wish an AL player (maybe our Adam Jones!) would offer to wear Doby's number on the day everyone else wears 42.

Obviously this isn't trying to diminish what Jackie Robinson did. I think Doby's got an interesting legacy, I've always been more interested in the silver medalists and minor characters in life because everyone talks about who did something first, at what time, and in great detail, but not nearly as much attention is paid to runners-up. Usually that's because winning is everything but in this case, being second place didn't mean Larry Doby had an easier time of things.

By the way, in addition to trailblazing, he was a great baseball player too. 136 OPS+, good for a 47.7 oWAR.

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It's just the way it goes. Quick, who was the third African American player in the majors? The fourth? You probably never heard of either one, but they both debuted within 15 days of Doby. (Hank Thompson and Willard Brown, both for the St. Louis Browns.) I'm sure they received just as much abuse.

The fact is, Jackie Robinson was first, and that will always make him the trailblazer and they symbol of the struggles that black players had in those days, even though he was far from the only one to experience it.

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It's just the way it goes. Quick, who was the third African American player in the majors? The fourth? You probably never heard of either one, but they both debuted within 15 days of Doby. (Hank Thompson and Willard Brown, both for the St. Louis Browns.) I'm sure they received just as much abuse.

The fact is, Jackie Robinson was first, and that will always make him the trailblazer and they symbol of the struggles that black players had in those days, even though he was far from the only one to experience it.

Fair enough. I still think MLB should do more to recognize Doby and not put all of the focus on Robinson.

As an aside, I never realized just how good Robinson was. In only 10 seasons, he was worth 61 rWAR. Lifetime OBP of .409. All while playing a MI position. It's a shame he didn't get to the majors until he was 28. It would be great to see what kind of numbers he could have put up if he had debuted 5-6 years earlier.

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Larry Doby has played second fiddle to Jackie Robinson for far too long and now that there's a movie out about Jackie Robinson I really would like people to remember the first black man to play in the American League.

That's the thing about life before interleague play, Jackie Robinson was unknown to most of the American League crowd anyway. It was Larry Doby who had to listen to the same taunting, abuse, etc etc, and unlike Robinson, he wasn't a world beater as a rookie. Playing well earned Robinson a lot of respect quickly, at least with Dodgers fans, I don't know if he had it easier or harder than Doby because of that (it's not a competition). I wish an AL player (maybe our Adam Jones!) would offer to wear Doby's number on the day everyone else wears 42.

Obviously this isn't trying to diminish what Jackie Robinson did. I think Doby's got an interesting legacy, I've always been more interested in the silver medalists and minor characters in life because everyone talks about who did something first, at what time, and in great detail, but not nearly as much attention is paid to runners-up. Usually that's because winning is everything but in this case, being second place didn't mean Larry Doby had an easier time of things.

By the way, in addition to trailblazing, he was a great baseball player too. 136 OPS+, good for a 47.7 oWAR.

It would be interesting to know more about Larry Doby's story. He really has become a footnote to Jackie Robinson.

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Larry Doby was also the SECOND African-American manager in MLB history, after another Robinson, Frank Robinson. I agree that since Doby was the first player to integrate the American League that something should be done to commemorate the occasion. He really gets no where near the recognition he deserves.

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Unlike Branch Rickey, who built media and public anticipation, Bill Veeck tried a no-big-deal strategy to introducing Doby - he initially kept the signing a secret and did not encourage press attention.

And this, while quite uncharacteristic of Veeck, may have had root in a big splash he was planning: some time before Jackie Robinson, Veeck had an idea to buy the Phillies and stock it with a complete African-American roster. Once word got to MLB, the sale was scuttled.

Amazing what would have happened if Veeck succeeded in that!

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It's just the way it goes. Quick, who was the third African American player in the majors? The fourth? You probably never heard of either one, but they both debuted within 15 days of Doby. (Hank Thompson and Willard Brown, both for the St. Louis Browns.) I'm sure they received just as much abuse.

The fact is, Jackie Robinson was first, and that will always make him the trailblazer and they symbol of the struggles that black players had in those days, even though he was far from the only one to experience it.

Yeah, I recall writing a post here a few years ago about Thompson and Brown and the importance of the St. Louis Browns in integrating the majors.

But yes, events certainly conspired to make Jackie the symbol above the others who debuted later the same year.

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