Larry Doby on track for Congressional Gold Medal
Fred Jeter | 12/21/2018, 6 a.m.
Larry Doby, the first African-American to play baseball in the American League, is on track to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.
The U.S. Senate has passed legislation to honor the former Cleveland Indians centerfielder.
Ohio Sens. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, and Rob Portman, a Cincinnati area Republican, announced passage of the bill. It now awaits the signature of President Trump.
Rep. Jim Renacci, a Republican from Wadsworth, Ohio, earlier helped the bill gain approval in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom are the highest civilian awards bestowed in the United States. Other athletes who have received the Congressional Gold Medal include baseball’s Roberto Clemente, boxer Joe Louis, Olympian Jesse Owens and baseball icon Jackie Robinson.
Doby, who grew up in Paterson, N.J., joined the Indians in July of 1947, two months after Robinson’s debut with the National League’s Brooklyn Dodgers. The left-handed hitter would become a seven-time All-Star, with career totals of 253 home runs and 970 runs batted in. In 1948, Doby led the Indians to their last World Series title.
Following his playing career, Doby became manager of the Chicago White Sox in 1978. That made him the second African-American MLB manager following Frank Robinson, who was named a player-manager in 1975 by the Cleveland Indians.
Doby, who died in 2003 at age 79, was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1998.
While he was best known for baseball, Doby played the 1943 basketball season for Virginia Union University after transferring from Long Island University. He also had a brief stint playing pro basketball with the New York Renaissance.