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Hall of Fame Military Spotlight Series: Bobby Doerr

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Bobby Doerr is recognized by the Foundation for his dedication to his country and the sacrifices that he made during World War II. He served honorably and was a talented second baseman who left behind an impactful legacy for the next generation to follow.

Doerr played American Legion baseball before signing with the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League at the age of 16 in 1934. He was purchased by the Boston Red Sox in 1935 and joined the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League in 1936 and batted .342.

In 1937, Doerr made his Major League debut with the Red Sox a few days after his 19th birthday and compiled a .242 batting average for his rookie season while playing in 55 games. His career advanced quickly, and he became the starting second baseman in 1938 and was selected as an All-Star in 1941. He was known as the quiet captain of the team and was respected for his consistency and durability.

One of his best years was in 1944 before joining the military. Doerr played in 125 games, hitting .325, with 15 home runs and 81 RBI. He also led the American League in slugging percentage with .528 and became the Most Valuable Player.

Bobby entered the U. S. Army in 1944 and, despite suffering from a punctured eardrum that occurred when he was six years old, passed the physical exam. He was stationed at Camp Roberts in California, where he continued to play baseball.

He was discharged on December 15, 1945, and returned to the Red Sox in 1946. During his first season back there was a dip in his batting average, but he still managed to drive in 116 runs and play spectacular defense.

Unfortunately, he was forced to retire as a player due to back pain in 1951 but went on to be a Red Sox scout from 1957-1966, and their coach for three years until 1969. When the baseball expansion came, he became the Toronto Blue Jays first hitting coach in 1977. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986, by the Veterans Committee.

Doerr demonstrated strength and determination through his service in the military, reflecting those of Bob Feller.



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