Today is Jackie Robinson Day.
For all the deserved respect and praise for what Robinson accomplished, I think we should also take some time to remember Larry Doby, who broke the color barrier in the American League with the Cleveland Indians. Doby was the first African American to hit a home run in the World Series and the All-Star Game, and was the second African American to manage a major league team.
Doby faced the same sort of hateful vitriol that Robinson did, enduring death threats, harassment, racist taunts from fans and other players alike. He often had to stay in separate accommodations when the Indians played on the road. Even after he became a star, his attempt to buy a home in Paterson, New Jersey, required the intervention of the city's mayor after local neighbors filed a petition to keep Doby and his wife out.
"Jackie got all the publicity for putting up with it (racial slurs). But it was the same thing I had to deal with. He was first, but the crap I took was just as bad. Nobody said, 'We're gonna be nice to the second Black."--Larry Doby
"He was a great American, he served the country in World War II, and he was a great ballplayer. He was kind of like Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, because he was the second African-American player in the majors behind Jackie Robinson. He was just as good of a ballplayer, an exciting player, and a very good teammate. He helped us win the World Series in 1948. He was a great ballplayer, a great American and an excellent teammate."---Bob Feller
"You have to be some kind of special person to go through what Larry and Jackie Robinson went through. They both are. I'm not too sure there's a player in the game today that could handle it."---Gene Mauch