Profiles of Valor
Lawrence “Larry” Doby was born in 1923 in Camden, South Carolina. In 1935, Doby and his mother moved to Paterson,New Jersey, where Doby was one of 25 black students at Paterson Eastside High School. In 1942, he signed with the Newark Eagles of the Negro League, under the name Larry Walker, allowing him to maintain his amateur status and play with them through his high school and college career.
Doby enrolled at Long Island University with the intention of playing basketball but transferred to Virginia Union College’sROTC program. He played basketball until he was drafted in the U.S. Navy in 1944, where he served as a Seaman in thePacific Theater. He served at the Ulithi Atoll, a major U.S. Naval staging area in the final year of the war, before being honorably discharged in January 1946.
Returning to New Jersey, Doby rejoined the Eagles, winning the 1946 Negro World Series, alongside Monte Irvin,another future MLB star. In 1947, months after Jackie Robinson signed with the Dodgers, Doby became the second black player in the Major League and the first in the American League after he signed with the Cleveland Indians. As a pioneerof Major League integration, Doby became the first African American to hit a home run in the World Series, and in 1952 he became the first African American to lead either league in home runs. By 1955, Doby was one of four black players tohave played in both the Negro League and Major League World Series.
Doby was traded to the Chicago White Sox for the ‘56 season but returned to the Indians for the 1958 season as a part-time player before finishing his Major League career at Chicago and Detroit in 1959. He began a managerial career before becoming the second black manager in Major League history as the White Sox manager in 1978.
His thirteen-year long Major League career resulted in seven All-Star selections and a World Series ring. Doby’s coveted number 14 was retired by the Indians on the 50th anniversary of his Major League debut in 1997, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.