On Friday August 10, 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio at the Cleveland Indians Stadium, named Jacobs Field, Larry Doby was honored for his historical achievement. A three game series was being played between the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees when they celebrated the 60th Anniversary of Larry Doby becoming the first Black baseball player in the American League. Doby made his Major League debut on July 5, 1947 two days after he was signed by the Cleveland Indians owner Bill Veeck.
For historical point of reference, Jackie Robinson was signed by the National League Brooklyn Dodgers eleven weeks before Larry Doby was signed by the American League Cleveland Indians. In April of 2007, the Los Angeles Dodgers paid tribute to Jackie Robinson who was saluted by other Major League players wearing his number 42. The Cleveland Indians players wore #14 Larry Doby’s number honoring his memory.
Because history seems to always remember the first person and not the second person, the second person history usually takes a back seat. While Jackie Robinson was enduring name calling, taunts, and prejudice in the National League of Baseball, it was Larry Doby in the American League of Baseball facing the same injustices. They both were not allowed to eat and to sleep with the other players in hotels and in restaurants. Yet, their patience and their perseverance won over their fellow teammates.
The citizens of Kershaw County, the residents of Camden, South Carolina, his family and his friends are extremely grateful and proud of Larry Doby; as well as, Major League Baseball for his desire and for his determination to become one of the most successful baseball players to integrate America’s Favorite pastime.
In addition to the 60th Anniversary Celebration by the Cleveland Indians, Kershaw County on April 14, 2007 officially dedicated the Larry Doby Recreational Sports Complex in his honor. This Complex has four T league Baseball fields, seven Soccer Fields, and two Softball fields. We proudly acknowledge Baseball Tomorrow Fund giving our county an $80,000 grant to help establish the Larry Doby Recreational Sports Complex.
The highlight of this special day was Larry Doby, Jr. throwing out the first ball on each field to the youngsters before the start of each T League baseball game. Doby, Jr. did the same thing on August 10, 2007 in Cleveland for the 60th Anniversary celebration with two of his sisters present. Christina and Larry Doby, Jr. showed the same emotion and gratitude when they came to Kershaw County to dedicated the Larry Doby Recreational Sports Complex. Mr. Bill Veeck, Jr. attended the dedication services here in Camden, South Carolina. Veeck, Jr. is the son of the Cleveland Indians’ owner who signed Larry Doby to an American League Baseball’s Contract.