“We never really had a captain, but he was the silent captain of the team,” Williams explained when Doerr was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1986.
Playing at Fenway Park into the early 1950s, except for twelve months in the Army during Community Battle II, Doerr was a nine-time American Group All-Star. He set a record for consecutive fielding chances lacking any error, batted over .300 in three different seasons and drove in a lot more than 100 runs six times.
His teams won just one single American League pennant, in 1946. The Red Sox went on to lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven-game World Series, but he batted .409 for the reason that series.
“Doerr was quickly the most popular player of the Crimson Sox and possibly the most popular baseball participant of his era,” David Halberstam wrote in “Summer of ’49” (1989), a merchant account of a memorable pennant competition between the Crimson Sox and the Yankees. “He was therefore modest and his disposition therefore gentle that his colleagues quite often described him as ‘lovely.’ He was the kind of man other men might have envied had they not really liked him so much.”
Remarking on Doerr’s fast hands, the novelist and Reddish colored Sox devotee George V. Higgins wrote in “The Progress of the times of year: Forty Years of Baseball inside our Area” (1989) that Doerr “gets the front side paws of a polar bear.”
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What Higgins found equally noteworthy was Doerr’s standing before the quite often critical Boston press and admirers. “Bobby Doerr cannot recall being hammered by the Boston mass media or being insulted by the admirers,” he wrote. “Reasonable more than enough, because he was perceived as a workman who generally gave his very best.”
Robert Pershing Doerr was created in LA on April 7, 1918, the son of Harold and Frances Doerr. His daddy was a telephone firm lineman. He was signed by the Hollywood team of the Pacific Coast League out of high school in 1934 and played two months in Hollywood, a third 12 months for the franchise when it relocated to San Diego.
He was signed by the Crimson Sox after being scouted in the summertime of 1936 by Eddie Collins, the Boston general manager and himself a former second baseman and potential Hall of Famer. On that trip, Collins likewise discovered Williams, a teenager with the San Diego team.
When Doerr joined the Crimson Sox, he was in awe.
“I’ll always remember spring trained in 1937,” he was first quoted as saying by Cynthia J. Wilber in “For the Love of the Game: Baseball Thoughts From the Men Who Were There” (1992). “I was just 18, and there was Jimmie Foxx hitting balls out of your ballpark like golf balls and Joe Cronin at shortstop and Lefty Grove pitching, and Pinky Higgins and Doc Cramer and the Ferrell brothers. My gosh, all those folks I had their photos up on my wall structure as a kid. These were all my heroes and there these were, and I was with them.”
Doerr was hit in the head by a pitch early in the growing season and played in only 55 games, but he became a normal in 1938, helped by Cronin, the Red Sox manager and shortstop, who all encouraged him to relax on the field and gave him batting tips.
Throughout the 1940s, Doerr and Pesky vied with the Yankees’ Joe Gordon at second base and Phil Rizzuto at shortstop as the American League’s leading double-play combination. Doerr led American League second basemen in double plays in five unique seasons and in 1948 set major league records, since destroyed, for consecutive chances lacking any error at his job, 414, and consecutive errorless games, 73.
Doerr was first the batting hero of the 1943 All-Star Game at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, hitting a three-run homer off the Cardinals’ Mort Cooper in the American League’s 5-3 victory.
He got his 2,000th hit on July 1, 1951, at Yankee Stadium. But he developed back problems that summer and retired following the season. He finished his profession with 2,042 hits and a .288 batting average, hit 223 residence runs and drove in 1,247 runs. He led the American League in slugging percentage in 1944 with a .528 mark.
He was later a coach for the Crimson Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays. His No. 1 was retired by the Crimson Sox in 1988.
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In his later years, Doerr devoted himself to looking after his wife, Monica, who had multiple sclerosis, and who died in 2003. He also treasured to fish. But he returned to Boston for ceremonial events.
When the Red Sox marked the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park in April 2012, he appeared alongside Pesky at second base, each of them in wheelchairs, an emotional high stage for a gathering that attracted a large number of former Red Sox players.
Doerr’s survivors include his son, Don; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
The enduring ties among Doerr, Pesky, Williams and Dom DiMaggio were chronicled by David Halberstam in “The Teammates” (2007). Doerr maintained an especially close friendship with Williams, who died in 2002. They often talked about hitting, but there was a dimension with their closeness beyond that. Williams, as the product of a broken residence, envied Doerr for the support he previously received from his daddy.
Reflecting on his upbringing, Doerr, a product of the Depression years, informed Cynthia Wilber that his generation “didn’t quit at points, and that was just a way of life.”
For his major league profession, Doerr said: “Found in those, days, I don’t guess anyone ever got too complacent. Even after I played 10 years of ball, I nonetheless felt like I had to take up well or somebody might take my place. I hustled and place that extra effort in all of the time.”