Today’s guest is Douglas M. Branson, author of the new book, Greatness in the Shadows: Larry Doby and the Integration of the American League, (University of Nebraska Press). Currently, Doug is a business law professor at the University of Pittsburgh.
“In April 1947, Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, thereby beginning the integration of the National League. Eleven weeks later, in Chicago, Larry Doby came to bat for the Cleveland Indians, thereby launching integration of the American League. To date, fifty -five biographies, or more, of Robinson have been written, along with 3 feature length movies made. Only one biography of Doby exists, written in the 1980s.
Doby and Robinson were friends, who frequently commiserated with one another on the telephone, and barnstormed together once the season ended. Robinson and Doby were good baseball players. Robinson hit .297, with 12 home runs, in his rookie season. Doby hit .301, with 15 home runs, and led his team to victory in the 1948 World Series, in his first full year.
Robinson was a six time All-Star; Doby was a seven time All-Star. Doby too was the first genuine 5 tool (hit for average, hit with power, field, throw, and run the bases) African American player, although. Baseball writers voted Jackie Robinson into the Baseball Hall of Fame the first year he was eligible (1962). The Veterans Committee (not the Baseball Writers of America) voted Larry Doby into the Hall as well (1998), but 39 years after Doby had finished his playing days and 36 years after the Hall had inducted Jackie Robinson.
Why has Larry Doby remained so obscure, especially to younger generations? This book attempts to answer those questions, describing and critiquing the shadows that masked Doby’s achievements, both as a racial pioneer and as a first rate baseball player, from view. In doing so, the book disputes more than a few settled views of baseball history”.
Greatness in the Shadows: Larry Doby and the Integration of the American League is available through Amazon.com and University of Nebraska Press (use code 6BFP for a 25% discount).