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Author Topic: Highlights of "Our Team"  (Read 69 times)
JoeC
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« on: May 01, 2021, 10:19:49 AM »

Still in the process of reading a newly published book titled "Our Team.' Basically about four baseball luminaries of the 1940s -- Satchel Paige, Bob Feller, Bill Veeck and Larry Doby. Highlight tidbits thus far:

- Monte Irvin played SS with Larry Doby at 2B on the Newark Eagles in 1946

- Integration of the game might've happened earlier had many MLB team owners not had a lucrative revenue stream coming in from leasing their major/minor league parks to the Negro Leagues

- Some Negro League stars made more in a month of post-season barnstorming with Bob Feller's white group of all-star players than they did in Negro League salary

- Red Sox and Tigers actually paid Ted Williams and Hal Newhouser $10K each to NOT sign up for Feller's barnstorming team (fear of injury)

- Feller netted the same in barnstorming as he did in salary ($80K); he was the original baseball businessman

- No one is still sure of Satchel's real birth date -- at least a 10 year swing in estimates.

- Joe Gordon (NY) for Allie Reynolds (Cleve) -- who got the best of that deal?

- Measuring speed of fast balls was in its infancy with Feller; whatever they used had him topping out at 98.6 mph

- Lou Boudreau was 4-F for WWII (arthritic ankles at age 24); Feller ran a gun crew on a battleship; Doby and Veeck (volunteered in his late 20s) also were in the Pacific



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doctordoowop
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2021, 08:59:45 PM »

Joe-Doby  seems lost to history-he did integrate the American league-was it  1948? Must have been his strange OF #--14.
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JoeC
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2021, 06:59:40 AM »

Joe-Doby  seems lost to history-he did integrate the American league-was it  1948? Must have been his strange OF #--14.
Doc, agree Doby doesn't get his "due." Guess that comes with being the second guy.

I've finished the book. Couple other observations:

- One of the "souvenirs" that Bob Feller brought home from WWII was a very high resolution telescope. That scope was reportedly used by the Indians in the late 40s to steal signs (from the OF scoreboard).  Supposedly, the scope was so powerful " you could see the dirt under the catcher's nails."  So ... yet another "cheating" story from those days to go along with Sal Yvars' NY Giants revelations.

- Lastly, Doby and Paige did NOT get along at all on the Indians. Big generational divide. Doby did not appreciate Paige's "Stepin Fetchit" behavior. Was constantly trying to get Paige to drop that act and get respect.
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bklynmike101
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2021, 03:09:06 PM »

Doby is one of many who is vastly underappreciated relative to t he numbers he put up and his overall on-field performance.   
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JoeC
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2021, 03:55:39 PM »

Doby is one of many who is vastly underappreciated relative to t he numbers he put up and his overall on-field performance.    
Agree, Mike. Doby was 6 years younger than Robinson when they "integrated" the two leagues. Jackie was 28 and Larry 22. Plus, Jackie had been a pretty big name due to his football prowess at UCLA. So, Jackie was no stranger to a big stage and was much more mature.

If there was a supportive in-team relationship on the Indians for Larry, it was Bill McKechnie. McKechnie (born in 1886) was Player-Mgr Lou Boudreau's "bench coach" when Larry was signed and was particularly helpful to him. Jim Hegan and Bob Lemon were two other teammates who befriended Larry. The rest of the 1948 team pretty much were civil but kept their distance. Many of the Southerners did so for fear of the reaction when they returned home for the off-season. They weren't necessarily anti-Doby, just concerned with being labeled a "n*****-lover" back home.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 04:09:31 PM by JoeC » Logged
Doowopjoe3
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2021, 08:28:12 AM »

In approx. 1957, I had my first job in Manhattan working in a receiving department. The assistant manager was black, last name Doby. One Sunday, after he played softball in a park, he was attacked by 2 would-be muggers who perhaps did not notice he was still carrying a bat. He managed to hit and hurt both of them with the bat. When he told me the story on Monday he ended it by saying "I got a better swing than that other Doby"
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bklynmike101
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2021, 02:26:11 PM »

Doby is one of many who is vastly underappreciated relative to t he numbers he put up and his overall on-field performance.    
Agree, Mike. Doby was 6 years younger than Robinson when they "integrated" the two leagues. Jackie was 28 and Larry 22. Plus, Jackie had been a pretty big name due to his football prowess at UCLA. So, Jackie was no stranger to a big stage and was much more mature.

If there was a supportive in-team relationship on the Indians for Larry, it was Bill McKechnie. McKechnie (born in 1886) was Player-Mgr Lou Boudreau's "bench coach" when Larry was signed and was particularly helpful to him. Jim Hegan and Bob Lemon were two other teammates who befriended Larry. The rest of the 1948 team pretty much were civil but kept their distance. Many of the Southerners did so for fear of the reaction when they returned home for the off-season. They weren't necessarily anti-Doby, just concerned with being labeled a "n*****-lover" back home.

Joe, much appreciated your info on Doby's integration in to the '48 Indians. Recall Hegan's '59 light blue Topps card and later his son Mike. Neither could hit much but Jim was considered a defensive stalwart - perhaps the Jeff Mathis or Martin Maldonado of his time. He had to be, in order to explain his MLB longevity.   
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JoeC
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2021, 03:42:23 PM »

DoowopJoe, Enjoyed your anecdote about the "other" Mr. Doby. Maybe a distant relative?? (Larry Doby was from Paterson, NJ -- just across the river.)

Mike, Jim Hegan was the Indians starting Catcher from 1941-56 (minus the war years). Called a great game and was a fine all-round defensive catcher too.  A light hitter (.228 BA) who did have a bit of power (hit 14 HR in a season, twice).

Mike Hegan got into a WS with the Yanks in 1964 but never really produced for them. Long-time Milwaukee Brewers TV broadcaster in the 80s and 90s.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2021, 08:08:56 PM by JoeC » Logged
bklynmike101
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2021, 07:43:39 PM »

In the late 60's in Rockaway, there was an old-time sort of everything store that had two locations about a block apart. In one, which included bicycle repair, worked a man called Lonnie who looked and sounded (spoken words heard only) liked a doppelganger for Anthony Gourdine. I always wondered.  Grin
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