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Larry Doby

Early Life

Lawrence Eugene Doby was born in 1923 in Camden, South Carolina. His father, David Doby, was a professional horse groom whose long trips to racetracks in the North led to the breakup of his marriage while Larry was still a child. When his mother, the former Etta Brooks, went North looking for work for herself, Larry was put in the care of others, first his grandmother and then his aunt and uncle. While in their care, Doby attended a school in Camden run by the Methodist Church, where he played organized sports for the first time. When he was ready to attend high school, he joined his mother in Paterson, New Jersey. At Eastside High in Paterson, New Jersey, he quickly proved himself a talented athlete, earning eleven varsity letters, in football, baseball, basketball and track. Foreshadowing his early experience in professional baseball, Doby was the sole black player on the school's football team.

Just before his graduation from high school, Doby played his first professional baseball game for the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League—under the name Larry Walker to protect his amateur status. After a year of college in 1942-43 at Long Island University and Virginia Union, he was drafted into the Navy. When he returned to the States in 1946, Jackie Robinson had been signed by the National League's Brooklyn Dodgers. Doby's future abruptly changed. "I felt I had a chance to play major league baseball," he revealed to his biographer Joseph Thomas Moore. "My main thing was to become a teacher and coach somewhere in New Jersey, but when I heard about Jackie, I decided to concentrate on baseball. I forgot about going back to college."


1923 Born in Camden, South Carolina
1938-42 Earns eleven varsity letters in sports at Paterson, New Jersey's Eastside High School
1942 Joins Newark Eagles of the Negro National League
1943-46 Serves in United States Navy
1946 Rejoins Newark Eagles; plays in Negro World Series
1947 Signed by Bill Veeck to contract with Cleveland Indians
1948 Finishes year with .301 average; home run wins game four of World Series
1949-55 Named to American League All-Star team
1952 Leads American League in runs with 104 and home runs with 32, leads majors with slugging average of .541
1954 Leads American League with 32 home runs and runs batted in with 126, as Cleveland wins American League pennant
1956 Traded to Chicago White Sox
1958 Traded to Baltimore Orioles and then to Cleveland Indians
1959 Traded to Detroit Tigers, then Chicago White Sox
1959 Retires following injury while playing with San Diego of Pacific Coast League
1962 Joins Chunichi Dragons, becoming one of first two ex-major leaguers to play baseball in Japan
1969-73, 1975-76 Coaches with Montreal Expos
1974 Coaches with Cleveland Indians
1977 Coaches with Chicago White Sox
1978 Named manager of Chicago White Sox
1979 Becomes Director of Community Relations with New Jersey Nets
1990 Joins Office of the President of the American League
1997 Cancerous kidney removed
1998 Inducted into National Baseball Hall of Fame
2001 Begins treatment for bone cancer

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsBaseballLarry Doby Biography - Early Life, Chronology, Enters Major Leagues, Becomes A Star, Career Statistics, Seeks Manager's Job