We Say A Sad Good-Bye to Hall-of-Famer Bobby Doerr

We Say A Sad Good-Bye to Hall-of-Famer Bobby Doerr

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 We Say A Sad Good-Bye to Bobby Doerr

“Bobby Doerr set the standard for what it means to be a good teammate…He touched us all with his class and dignity, and will remain an example and an inspiration for generations of players to come” -Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner

It’s always a sad day whenever we have to say good-bye to any former major leaguer. It’s even sadder when the player’s a Hall-of-Famer.

As I’m sure most of you know by now, Red Sox great Bobby Doerr passed away yesterday at the age of 99. At the time of his passing, he was at the top of many lists for longevity, including: the oldest living major league player, the only member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame to live to be 99 years old, the last living player from the 1930s, and the oldest of only three living people who made their major league debut before the start of World War II.  He was also the last living player to have played against Lou Gehrig.

In a fitting tribute to Bobby Doerr, we see in the featured photo above, a beautiful colorization by our resident baseball artist, Don Stokes.

Bobby Doerr made his debut with the Red Sox on April 20, 1937 at the age of 19, and spent his entire 14-year career in Boston (1937-44, 1946-1951) with a break for military service during World War II. Over his career, Bobby posted a .288 average, with 2042 hits, 1094 runs, 381 doubles, 89 triples, 223 home runs, 1247 RBIs, .362 on-base percentage, .461 slugging average, .823 OPS, and 165 OPS+ (100 being the major league average). He batted over .300 three times, and drove in more than 100 runs six times. Bobby also hit for the cycle twice in his career.

Regarded as one of the top defensive second basemen of his era, Bobby led American League second basemen in double plays five times; in putouts and fielding percentage four times each; and in assists three times.  He also held the major league record for career double plays at second base (1,507) until 1963. Remarkably he never played a game at another position other than second base.

Bobby’s best season was probably 1944, when he hit .325 (two points behind league-leader Lou Boudreau), with 15 home runs, 81 RBIs and a .399 on-base percentage. His .528 slugging average led the league, and he was named the Sporting News MVP.

He was the hitting star for the Red Sox in the 1946 World Series against the Cardinals, with a .409 average, one home run, and three RBIs. He had another outstanding year in 1948, posting a .285/.386/.505 slash line, while setting an American League record for handling 414 chances in a row over 73 games without an error.

The nine-time All-Star retired at the age of 33 due to a back injury. He returned a few years later as a scout and then as a first base coach and hitting instructor, including work with Carl Yastrzemski before his Triple Crown season. Bobby spend 27 years with the Red Sox.

Bobby Doerr was immortalized as one of the four players in the “Teammates” statue outside Fenway Park, along with Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams.

RIP Bobby Doerr. You will be missed by all who knew you…

Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: Bobby Doerr colorization by Don Stokes: https://www.facebook.com/Don-Stokes-Old-Time-Baseball-Colorizations-923346241033508/;  All others from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from Bobby Doerr Wikipedia page; Statistics from Baseball Reference.com.

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I’m a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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