Larry Doby and Jackie Robinson Comparison

The experience of Larry Doby, first black player in the American League, and Jackie Robinson differed greatly according to a thought provoking column by Terry Pluto.  I had not realized that while Branch Rickey thoroughly prepared Robinson and his future teammates for his joining the team, Indians owner Bill Veeck’s adding Doby to the roster was a “big surprise” as he was an unknown to the players on the team when he was added mid-season.  He went on to have a hall of fame career, but this difference in preparation added to the difficulties he and Robinson both shared on and off the field as pioneers.   Having grown up in Cleveland, I knew who Doby was but not the details.  Now Doby has a street named after him near Progressive Field, but I agree with Pluto’s suggestion that a statue or other greater tribute is in order.

Larry Doby, first black in the American League, poses proudly in his Cleveland Indians uniform in the dugout in Comiskey Park in Chicago, Ill., on July 5, 1947. (AP Photo)

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