Jaffe: Anniversary of Larry Doby’s debut deserves more recognition

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at SI.com’s The Strike Zone on July 5, 2013:

Friday marks the anniversary of the major league debut of Larry Doby, who on July 5, 1947 broke the American League color barrier, just three months after Jackie Robinson did so in the National League. While Robinson is rightly hailed for his pioneering effort, with a special day in his honor celebrated across baseball every April 15 (the day he debuted), his uniform number retired by every team and this year even a feature-length Hollywood biopic, Doby, who passed away in 2003, has largely been confined to Robinson’s shadow despite his own outstanding career. The man deserves a day of his own, to say the least.

Doby endured the same virulent racism that Robinson faced — the segregation, bench-jockeying from opponents and cool receptions from certain teammates — and yet he thrived at the major league level, earning All-Star honors for seven straight years from 1949 through 1955. Not until 1998, 39 years after his playing career ended, and 36 years after Robinson’s first-ballot election, was he inducted into the Hall of Fame, that via the Veterans Committee. “The only difference was that Jackie Robinson got all the publicity,” Doby later said. “You didn’t hear much about what I was going through because the media didn’t want to repeat the same story.”

Read the full article here: http://mlb.si.com/2013/07/05/larry-doby-anniversary-breaking-al-color-barrier/

Originally published: July 5, 2013. Last Updated: July 5, 2013.