Larry Doby receives stamp of approval
Larry Doby, the first black man to play in the American League, will be honored with a US stamp, the US Postal Service announced Thursday.
Doby, who became just the second black man to play in the majors behind Jackie Robinson, was selected as the second of four players to be portrayed in the US Postal Service’s Major League Baseball All-Stars series.
He joins New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio in the collection set for release in 2012. The final two players have not yet been announced.
After playing three seasons for the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League — and a two-year layoff from baseball to serve in the US Navy during World War II — Doby was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1947. The deal with the AL club came just 11 weeks after Robinson broke the color barrier by signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers of the National League.
Doby went on to play 13 seasons in the majors, making seven consecutive All-Star appearances between 1949 and 1955. He batted .301 with 66 RBI in 1948 en route to Cleveland’s World Series title — the last in franchise history. The center fielder also played 164 consecutive games without committing an error, which stood as a record among outfielders for 17 years.
Doby twice led the AL in home runs, hitting 32 long balls in 1952 and again in 1954 when he finished second in AL MVP voting to Yankees catcher Yogi Berra.
He was traded to the Chicago White Sox following the 1955 season, and following a brief return trip to Cleveland in 1958, Doby ended his playing career in 1959 after playing for both the Detroit Tigers and White Sox.
The South Carolina native, who grew up in New Jersey, went on to coach in the big leagues and eventually became the second black manager in league history when the White Sox hired him midway through the 1978 season. It was his only season as a big-league skipper.
The Indians honored Doby in 1994 by retiring his No. 14 jersey, and he finally received a long overdue induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998 after being voted in by the Veterans Committee. He died five years later in Montclair, N.J., at age 79.