Larry Doby signed as a Free Agent with the Indians in 1947, and when he debuted that season he was the first black player in the American League. While Jackie Robinson might have forged the path the previous season for black players in the majors, it was still not an easy road to travel. Doby had to put up with more then his share of racial problems–not the least coming from his own team. When he was introduced to his team only a couple guys would shake hands and some just turned their backs. When Doby debuted at first base–a position that he never played before–he had to borrow a glove from the opposing team since nobody on the Indians would loan him one. Not cool. But he was befriended by second baseman Joe Gordon, who offered to warm up with him pre-games.
But Doby would slowly win over people. He was classy, and a hell of a hitter. In Game 4 of the 1948 World Series Doby would be the first black player to hit a homerun in the World Series–a one run shot of Johnny Sain that put the Indians up 2-0. Post game there is a famous picture of the Tribes starting pitcher Steve Gromek hugging Doby–a very public showing of support to a man that needed it.
the Indians would win the series that season, and Doby would go on the be selected to
seven All-Star teams and come in #2 in MVP voting in 1954. He would be selected to the Hall of Fame in 1998.
|162 Game Avg.||162||565||101||27||103||92||107||.283||.386||.876||136|
|CLE (10 yrs)||1235||4315||808||215||776||703||805||.286||.389||.889||140|