We were wondering why Larry Doby was barely a footnote during Jackie Robinson Day festivities last month. Now, his former team has stepped up to the plate.
The Cleveland Indians will honor Hall of Fame outfielder Larry Doby by having the entire team wear his retired #14 in a game vs. the New York Yankees on Friday, Aug. 10 at Jacobs Field. Each of the game-worn jerseys worn by players and coaches will be autographed and auctioned off by the team with proceeds benefitting the Larry Doby RBI Program and the Cleveland State University Baseball Scholarship Fund. Both programs were established when the Tribe first retired his number in 1994.
Doby became the first African-American player in American League history almost just a few of months after Robinson’s NL debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. His accomplishments and place in history are often overshadowed by Robinson’s stature as the first African American Major Leaguer.
"Not taking anything away from Jackie Robinson, because he changed the world. But Larry Doby deserves recognition, too," said Indians’ pitcher C.C. Sabathia.
Doby was a standout player for the Negro League Newark (NJ) Eagles prior to being signed by then Indians owner Bill Veeck on July 3, 1947. He made his Major League and Cleveland Indians debut 2 days later in Chicago. Doby was an anchor on the 1948 Indians World Championship team and went on to lead the American League in home runs in 1952 (32) and 1954 (32). His #14 was retired by the Indians in July of 1994 and he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. He passed away at the age of 79 in June of 2003.
Larry Doby, JR will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game. There will also be a video tribute to Larry Doby on the Jacobs Field scoreboard prior to the game.
The Larry Doby #14 tribute is one many highlights to Hall of Fame/Heritage weekend, August 10-12 vs. the New York Yankees. Prior to the game of Saturday, August 11 four more members will be added to the Indians Hall of Fame: ANDRE THORNTON, CHARLES NAGY, JIM BAGBY SR. and MIKE GARCIA.
The first batch of Jackie Robinson Day jerseys worn by players across baseball are currently being sold through MLBAuctions.com.