News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Lehmans

Hospice of the Western Reserve


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Sports


Indians Hall of Famer Larry Doby's little-known legacy
Doby was the first player to break the color barrier in the American League but few people know about it
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ
and KELLI FITZPATRICK


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Cleveland Indian Larry Doby was the first African-American player in the American League in 1947.
Download (WKSU Only)

This past week, the Cleveland Indians named a street near Progressive Field in honor of the late Hall of Famer Larry Doby. It was to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Doby breaking the American League’s color barrier. Doby has long-lived in the shadow of Jackie Robinson, who beat him 11 weeks earlier to the Major Leagues by joining the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers. 

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks to Amanda Rabinowitz about Doby's place in baseball history. and why his route to the big leages was much tougher than Robinson's.

Terry Pluto on Larry Doby's legacy

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:39)


Pluto assesses the Indians' first half of 2012

Other options:
MP3 Download (3:48)


In Robinson's shadow
Larry Doby broke the American League’s color barrier by joining the Cleveland Indians in 1947. But he’s long-lived in the shadow of Jackie Robinson, who beat him 11 weeks earlier to the Major Leagues by joining the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers.

Doby's route much different
WKSU commentator Terry Pluto says the two men had dramatically different introductions to the Major Leagues. The Dodgers planned Robinson’s breakout like someone building a house with matchsticks—each step was carefully planned and executed, Pluto says; Doby’s experience was the opposite.

Where Robinson was signed before the 1946 season and gained Minor League experience and exposure with the other players, Indians owner Bill Veeck signed Doby in the middle of the 1947 season, when Pluto notes that the Indians weren’t “going anywhere.”

Age also made a difference, Pluto says. Doby was 23 at signing, five years younger than Robinson.

Treated differently, played little
Pluto says all of combined to make Doby’s first season rough.

“He comes in, he’s scared to death, just frightened,” he says. “There were two players who wouldn’t even shake hands with him. That first season, Doby played very little—he just sat there. It was a mess.”

Doby's mentor
The team brought back former player and manager Tris Speaker, as a consultant to teach Doby how to play center field. Speaker was reputed to have been a Ku Klux Klan member, but became Doby’s advocate in the league.

And Doby went on to become an “outstanding player,” Pluto says, leading the league in home runs twice and making seven All-Star teams. Doby played for the Indians for 10 years.

A street and maybe more
Pluto says renaming a street near Progressive Field after Larry Doby is not enough to recognize the significance of his career.

“When you talk about who mattered most … (who) has probably ever worn a Cleveland uniform, I think first you have Bob Feller and next you have Larry Doby,” he says.


Related WKSU Stories

Terry Pluto remembers "the booming voice from basketball heaven"
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Terry Pluto likes Kent State's odds in Oregon
Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Indians home opener always popular; Terry Pluto explains why
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Second-half Cavs vs. Spring Indians
Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook





Stories with Recent Comments

The first big private gift comes in for the pro football HOF project
The HOF has needed a shot in the arm for many years and this project will go a long way to getting the attraction the attention it deserves (next: upgrad...

Environmental study nears completion in East Liverpool
Twenty years ago my twin sister and I protested the building and operation of the WTI facility citing several studies that indicated the risk of cancer due to ...

HOF's Canton expansion could take an island and make it a village
I live in the block from Broad St to the Hall of Fame and will be impacted by the expansion. I am in the process of selling my home and planned to long before i...

Cleveland redeploys police to replace rejected red-light traffic cameras
Periodic rotational enforcement without warning does NOT change behavior and the city officials know that. This is the basis of all officer-run enforcement trap...

New enrollment period offers more insurance options
The removal of federal funding for healthcare CO-OPs may limit the growth of the CO-OP movement. http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=6381

The family of Boardman vet killed in Vietnam receives his medals
My name is Mike Eisenbraun. I am Larry's brother. I was 14 years old when Larry was killed in Vietnam. He has been gone for 46 years but it seems like yester...

Cleveland seniors are creating new wealth -- and facing new challenges
Why is anyone surprised that we people over 65 are not retiring? If you have been paying attention, defined company funded pensions were phasing out in the eigh...

Ohio company cuts off a dairy supplier after allegations of animal abuse
these people should be held accountable for their actions. i would be more than pleased to see a year or more behind bars. i will NEVER eat anything that comes ...

Goodyear recruits thousands of vets
What a wonderful interview! Excellent reporting skills by a talented young reporter! I look forward to hearing more from Ms. Schley!

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University