All-Time Indians: Larry Doby

Name: Lawrence Eugene Doby     Position: Center Field          
              Number: 14            
Tribe Time: 1947-1955, 1958         DOB: 12/13/1923          
Accolades: Hall of Fame (1998), Retired #14, 7 Time All-Star (1949-1955), Top 5 MVP (1954), Top 15 MVP (1950,1952)
Stats G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS SB% OBP SLG AVG OPS ISOP
Best Season (1950) 142 503 110 164 25 5 25 102 274 98 71 8 6 57% .442 .545 .326 .987 .219
Career 1235 4315 808 1234 190 45 215 776 2159 703 805 44 32 58% .389 .500 .286 .889 .214
Post Season Career 10 38 1 8 4 0 0 3 12 3 5 0 0 0% .310 .316 .211 .626 .105

Larry Doby's biggest claim to fame at this point in history is that he was the first black player in the American League. Just three months after Jackie Robinson signed with the Dodgers, the Indians added the Negro League second base man who later became one of the greatest players in team history. Doby's contribution to the 1948 and 1954 World Series teams was downplayed, behind MVP's Al Rosen and Lou Boudreau and star pitchers like Bob Lemon and Bob Feller, but he was integral to the Indians lineup just about every year he played for the team.

From 1950 through 1955 Doby was one of the top two offensive players every season. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that he was only the second black players in the Majors, he probably would be in that list of MVPs. He lead the league in home runs and runs in 1952 and in home runs and RBI in 1954. Doby was traded to the White Sox in part of Frank Lane's dismantling of the Indians. Lane removed many of the greatest Indians of all time from the roster in exchange for much lesser players and Doby was no exception. He was traded to the White Sox for Jim Busby and Chico Carrasquel. The Indians then missed out of three of his last four effective years and more than 60 home runs. 

In 1958 Doby was traded back the Tribe from Baltimore and had his last season of any note, although it was his worst as an Indian. He was then traded for Tito Francona (for a second time, the first being when the White Sox traded him to the Orioles) and sent to Detroit and from there back to Chicago. In those last two seasons he played just 39 games as Doby's once stellar career faded out into darkness.

His time in Cleveland did earn him some accolades as well as prestige among the leaderboards. Larry Doby ranks in the top 10 all time in career home runs, runs scored, RBI and walks for the Indians and is one of only 6 players to have his number retired by the Tribe. He is one of the greatest centerfielders in team history along with being one of the best batters overall. Along with being recently inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame, Doby is a member of the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame (class of 1966). Larry Doby died in 2003.

Larry Doby

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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