Lupica: The graceful life of Bobby Doerr

From Mike Lupica at Sports on Earth on November 14, 2017:

You can still see the four of them, Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky and Dom DiMaggio, at the corner of Van Ness and Ipswich, near Gate B at Fenway Park, the statue that is simply known as “Teammates.” They came from the West Coast, they all did, to play baseball in their youth for the Red Sox, before and after World War II, to become legends not just of Boston baseball and that time for the Red Sox, but also of lasting friendship.

The man who had become our oldest living ballplayer, Robert Pershing Doerr — born in 1918 and named after a famous figure of World War I and who later would join the Army near the end of World War II despite a punctured eardrum — died on Tuesday morning at the age of 99. Doerr died in Oregon, a state he came to love the way he loved baseball and his family.

He played second base for the Red Sox for 14 years and was an All-Star nine times and was finally elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986, by what was still known as the Veterans Committee in those days. Williams, of course, was the great theatrical star of his Red Sox teams, the man still called the greatest pure hitter who ever lived, the game’s last .400 hitter. But Doerr, in their time together, was a quiet star in Boston himself, the man whom Williams called “the silent captain” of their teams.

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Originally published: November 16, 2017. Last Updated: November 16, 2017.