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BLACK HISTORY MONTH IN NJ: A Salute to Paterson's Larry Eugene Doby

Paterson Camden

By: Richard L. Smith 

This iconic native of Northern NJ was a three-sport all-state athlete while in high school in Paterson, New Jersey, Doby accepted a basketball scholarship from Long Island University.

At 17 years of age, he began his professional baseball career with the Newark Eagles as the team's second baseman, according to published reports from Wikipedia.

In a 2013 edition of 'Black Past' web edition, writer contributor Mr. Robert Mueller noted that Larry Doby was the first African American baseball player to go directly from the Negro Leagues to the major leagues when the Cleveland Indians purchased his contract from the Newark Eagles on July 3, 1947.

According to Mueller, two days later, on July 5, 1947, Larry Doby became the first African American to play in the American League, making his debut fewer than three months after the landmark date of April 15, 1947, when Jackie Robinson became the first African American player in the modern history of Major League Baseball.

After leaving high school, Mueller wrote, Doby attended Long Island University and Virginia Union College before being drafted into the Navy in 1943.

"In 1946, after leaving the Navy, Doby played for the Newark Eagles of the Negro Leagues and was noticed by the owner of the Cleveland Indians, Bill Veeck. The following summer, the Indians purchased his contract from the Newark Eagles, advancing Doby to the Major Leagues," according to Mueller.

Indians' teammate Satchel Paige and Doby became the first African American players to play on a World Series championship team, with Doby being the first African American to hit a home run in a World Series game, according to Mueller.

The number 14 was retired by the Cleveland Indians on the 50th anniversary of Doby's debut, and one year later, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"By this time in his life, however, Doby battled health problems. His wife of 55 years, Helyn, died of cancer in 2001. Larry Doby died of cancer two years later in Montclair, New Jersey. He was 80," according to 'Black Past' web edition writer contributor Mr. Robert Mueller.

INFORMATION & IMAGE CREDIT: 'Black Past' web edition writer contributor, Mr. Robert Mueller- Wikipedia  

SPONSORS: Metro Media Institute of Harrison, Nino's Pizza, Bergen Street Harrison, NJ, and William Paterson University