Profiles of Valor
Robert Pershing Doerr epitomized the strong but silent generation. Born in Los Angeles in 1918, Doerr established himself as a world-class ballplayer and patriot.
After being discovered on the same scouting trip as Ted Williams, Doerr started his Major League career at the age of nineteen in 1937. On the field, Doerr was a model of consistency. He spent his entire fourteen-year career as the second basemen for the Boston Red Sox. His longtime teammate, Ted Williams, called him the “silent captain”. Another teammate of his, Johnny Pesky, claimed that he never saw Doerr misplay a ball during his entire career and that he had the best backhand of any second basemen that ever played the game.
Over the course of his career, Bobby Doerr was voted an All-Star nine times. He posted a career batting average of .288 while recording 2,042 hits, 223 home runs, and 1,247 runs batted in. In 1944, The Sporting News named Doerr the American League’s “Most Valuable Player”. For his career performance, the Boston Red Sox retired his number, 1, and he was elected to both the Red Sox and National Baseball Hall of Fames.
After his playing days came to an end, Doerr went on to scout and manage for the Red Sox well into the 1960s. Like so many other players of his generation, Doerr joined the service during World War II, serving in the United States Army in 1945. The Army first assigned Doerr to Fort Lewis, but he was transferred a week later to an infantry unit at Camp Roberts. Doerr was rumored to be a member of a team that was going to be sent to Fort Ord and then overseas to Japan where he would have been involved in the planned invasion of Japan. This plan never came to fruition, though, as President Truman essentially ended the War in the Pacific when he dropped the two atomic bombs on Japan.
Bobby Doerr was a model of strength and consistency during his military and baseball careers.