Larry Doby made baseball history 68 years ago today, July 5, 1947, becoming the first African-American ballplayer in the American League.
Lawrence Eugene Doby made his big league debut for the A.L. Cleveland Indians 2 1/2 months after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier on April 15th with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Doby, like Robinson, played in the Negro Leagues, starring for the Newark Eagles.
Doby was born in Camden, South Carolina, and grew up in Patterson, New Jersey, were he attended East Side High School.
Larry attended college at Long Island University(Brookly), and after starting his professional career with the Eagles, Doby joined the United States Navy during World War II.
Larry won a Negro League Championship with the Eagles in 1946, and in 1948, his second season with the Indians, won the World Series with Cleveland.
Larry played with the Indians through 1955, making seven consecutive All-Star teams, '49-'55, leading the A.L in home runs in both '52 and '54, smacking 32 dingers both years and in RBI in 1954 with 126.
Larry would go on to play for the Chicago White Sox qnd the Detroit Tigers, and have return trips to play for both the Tribe and ChiSox begore playing in his final big league game for the ChiSox on July 26, 1959.
In 1533 big league ball games Larry Doby collected 1,515 base hits, 253 home runs and 970 RBIs.
In 1998 Larry Doby was elected to the BaseballHall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee.
Larry Doby made big league history with his debut in 1948 with Cleveland, and yet we baseball fans outside of Cleveland seem to forget Doby and his accomplishments.
Many baseball fans believe MLB shouls honor Doby with his own day every year as well, and I think that would be a good thing for baseball to do.
Larry Doby's uniform #14 was retired by the Indians in 1994.
Happy Larry Doby Day!