Larry Doby, Jackie Robinson, Dobie discussed on Baseball Tonight with Buster Olney


Is the author of our team. The epic story of four men and the world series. That change baseball located dylan. I'm doing great. Thanks thanks for joining me very excited about this. I remember reading about this book as it was about to come out in the spring and i was like that is going to be great. I obviously got great reviews. A great response The men reference in the title there for key members of the cleveland organization. Owner bill beck. That you're bob feller pitcher satchel page and of course larry doby They would win the world series. And we're coming up on the seventy fourth anniversary of dobies debut july fifth Or nine hundred. Forty seven Most casual fans. No dobie is the first african american in american league history How did you feel about. Larry doby at the end of the project. Because you know in you know as you go into it but by the time he got to the end. How did you feel about him. Yeah it's funny. I actually didn't know a lot about larry doby. Whenever i started the book i knew him. As sort of an answer to a trivia question as you said the first black player in the american league the second black layer after jackie robinson in the twentieth century. But other than that he was kind of a mystery to me and This sort of courage and perseverance that he had to have to do what he did. He went straight from the negro leagues to the major leagues with no training and between it was kind of like an overnight journey into the majors that differed very significantly from jackie robinson zone journey. And so it really was a sort of singular experience that he went under and so just assertive See him struggle through it and then have this incredible year in nineteen forty eight. The really helped the indians to the to the world series made me just appreciate his gifts in sort of almost be a little sad that his story hasn't been as well told as as perhaps robinson's. Yeah we we obviously know a lot about jackie robinson. There been so many books written you know the movie. Forty two How did larry doby handle this. Well it was. It was a real shock to his system. He found out that he was going to be signed by the cleveland indians. Only about two days before it happened he played a game for the newark eagles. Which part of the negro national league on july fourth nineteen forty seven took an overnight train to chicago where the indians were playing the white sox and the very next day. he was in a uniform with the cleveland. Indians he later told sportswriter. Wendell smith that during his first several bats in the majors he was so nervous that his teeth chattering He was often segregated from his teammates. Shunted off to separate accommodations He roomed by himself. He was he sort of struggled with loneliness and sort of tremendous Racial abuse as well as a cold shoulder for some of his teammates and so during that first year. Nineteen forty seven. He really struggled. It seemed like he was not major league material but then in nineteen forty. Eight as i mentioned he has this tremendous comeback where he is just sort of constantly spurring the indians whenever they are hitting a rough patch. And he's really the catalyst that help them through that season. Yeah i was thinking about this today. I was getting ready to talk to. You know we talk about jackie robinson Because he was the first african american to play in mlb but they were effectively sixteen. I there were sixteen team. Sixteen sets a players clubhouse cultures fan bases so dobie had the same set of challenges. The jackie robinson did i. You know. I've seen things written in the past about how jackie robinson may have made it easier. For someone's there's nobody was going to make it easier for larry doby with what he dealt with. So how did he turned the corner from that from those initial struggles into the second year and headed. The you know. The the cleveland franchise view him after that first year. Because you know in a part of the reason why branch rickey Chose jackie robinson was because he felt like you know what the. I is a player who has to have immediate success. And as you mentioned. Larry doby didn't yeah. And there was kind of a pattern that if a black layers did not sort of excel right off. The bat is jackie. Robinson sorta did after a slightly patch the beginning they were sent back to either the miners or to the negro leagues altogether Dobie was able to sort a weather. The storm a bit because he had a very supportive owner in bill. Vac who knew the dobie had talent and practiser patients and allowing dobie to find his footing within the league. Dobie found a community of a black clevelanders. At that time he lived with a guy named arthur grant who dobie had served within the navy And that allowed him to sort of form a community that he drew strength from me also drew strength from his wife And then there were several cleveland coaches. That really helped him. Along with bill mckechnie and true speaker. Who who was from texas and And really signed doby a tremendous talent. Dobie not only came back in nineteen forty eight after having kind of a disastrous nineteen forty seven season which he won fifty six. He had been an infielder and the negro leagues. The indians told him after the night. Forty seven season. You need to learn how to do the outfield. He was so inexperienced in the outfield. He was checking out books from the library. And the off season called how to play the outfield. He didn't know how to play it. And he just learns it on the fly while being the sole individual of a black player in the american league during the nineteen forty eight season so not only is he dealing with sort of the challenges that come with being a pioneer. He's learning entirely new position position and he just kind of attacks it with with the tenacity that that he'd shown earlier in his athletic career. What really stood out to you. Is you research bill. Vac why i mean. He's one of the pioneers in baseball. In terms of marketing the sport in terms of trying to make the sport more popular but i. I've always thought of him as being you know. There's going to be the natural comparison to to branch rickey I've always thought bill. Back is being more progressive and thought whereas ricky was more of a pragmatist and a businessman Tell me what you thought you felt about bill beck. Yeah i mean. I'm someone who comes from st louis and so i grew up here in stories about that on the st louis browns. And so i got almost like a carnival. Ization picture of bill deck where he was shooting off fireworks doing sort of outrageous stunts and promotions. And things like this. He was the guy with eddie goodell. Put the plates that sort of thing. Yeah yeah that was more sort of picture that i had and so it was surprising to me when i was doing this research on. Just how progressive that was in terms of Desegregating the american league He grew up in chicago. Which at that time was sort of the nerve center of the negro league and he went to tons of different games both the east west all star game for the negro leagues and the chicago. American giants he new players in negro leagues. So well that one cleveland sports writer said that he not only tell you these players were but he could give you sort of stats about them..

Coming up next