July 5, 1947: Larry Doby Signed a Contract with the Cleveland Indians Baseball Team

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July 5, 1947: Larry Doby signed a contract with the Cleveland Indians baseball team, becoming the 1st black player in the American League.

⚾Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in the National League 11 weeks earlier.⚾

Lawrence Eugene “Larry” Doby, was a professional baseball player in the Negro leagues and MLB. A native of Camden, South Carolina and three-sport all-state athlete while in high school in Paterson, New Jersey, Doby accepted a basketball scholarship from Long Island University.

At 17 years of age, he became the Newark Eagles’ second basemen. Doby joined the United States Navy during World War II. His military service complete, Doby returned to baseball in 1946, and along with teammate Monte Irvin, helped the Eagles win the Negro League World Series.

In 1947 at the age of 23, Doby joined Jackie Robinson in breaking the MLB color barrier as he became the 1st black player to integrate the AL when he signed a contract to play with Bill Veeck’s Cleveland Indians.

Doby was the 1st player to go directly to the majors from the Negro leagues. A seven-time consecutive All-Star center fielder, Doby and teammate Satchel Paige were the 1st African-American players to win a World Series championship when the Indians won in 1948.

He was also the 1st black player to hit a home run in the World Series and All-Star Game.

He helped the Indians win a franchise-record 111 wins and AL pennant in 1954 and finished second in the AL MVP award voting as he was the season’s RBI leader and home run champion for the second time in three seasons.

In 1978 he became the 2nd African-American manager in the majors when he joined the Chicago White Sox. Doby later served as a director with the New Jersey Nets of the NBA and in 1995 was appointed to a position in the AL’s executive office.

He was selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998 by the Hall’s Veterans Committee and died in 2003 at the age of 79.

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1 Comment

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