Introducing the Cleveland Indians’ Franchise Four candidates

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Larry Doby

credit: Associated Press

Very rarely are athletes remembered for being the second to accomplish something, but that’s not the case with Larry Doby

The second African American to play Major League Baseball, Doby was the first to break the color barrier in the American League with the Cleveland Indians. He later became the second African American manager in the big leagues, following Frank Robinson in 1978.

But he was the first. He, along with Satchel Paige, were the first African American players to win a World Series when the Indians won in 1948.

All of that is no surprise, as Doby had success wherever he went. He was a seven-time All-Star, a World Series champion and a Negro Leagues champion (1946). He was a two-time AL home run champion (1952, 1954) and an AL RBI champion (1954). Doby helped the Indians win a franchise-record 111 games and the AL pennant in 1954, finished second in the AL MVP voting in a time where black players were still not completely accepted.

In 10 years with the Indians, Doby hit .286/.389/.500 and clubbed a total of 215 home runs. He drove home 776 RBIs as part of 1,234 base hits in 1,235 games played. Across 14 big league seasons, Doby posted five 100-RBI seasons and eight 20-home run seasons. Nineteen years after his retirement from playing, Doby was hired by Bill Veek, the same man who signed Doby to his first contract, to manage the Chicago White Sox.

Like Boudreau, Doby was incredibly athletic. He was a star infielder for the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League and was the first African American player to play professional professional basketball in the ABL.

Doby was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998, long after he should have gotten the nod to Cooperstown. His number was retired by the Indians on July 3, 1994.

Next: Bob Feller