Behind every great hero is another great hero. Have you ever heard the name Jackie Robinson? You're probably from another planet if you haven't. Ever heard the name Larry Doby? Well, you're probably from this planet if you haven't.
On June 1, 1947, exactly 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson integrated Major League Baseball, a man named Larry Doby broke the color barrier in the American League, taking the field for the Cleveland Indians. A native of Camden, S.C., Doby became the first African-American to play for the American League. While he changed history, moving baseball and society forward, his legacy has been obscured by America's fascination with Jackie Robinson. Make no mistake about it, Robinson is a true American hero and icon; but Larry Doby deserves to be a part of America's collective memory about baseball because of his contribution to the sport and subsequently American society.
Like Robinson, Doby played in the Negro Leagues. Raised in Paterson, N.J., Doby joined the Newark Eagles at age 17, leading them to the Negro League Championship in 1946. In 1947, he was signed by the Cleveland Indians and in 1948, Doby became the first black player to hit a home run in the World Series between Cleveland and the Boston Braves, which is the last time the Indians held a World Series title.
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