Hall of Fame second baseman Bobby Doerr remembered for consistency, durability
"Bobby was not only an exceptional player, but a gentleman to his friends and to his fans," said Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the Board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "He has been, and always will be, held in the highest regard by the Hall of Fame Board of Directors, the Hall of Fame Members, and by its Staff. Bobby's passing has affected us deeply, and we send our heartfelt sympathy to his family."
He was named to nine All-Star Games, led the league in double plays five times and in fielding percentage four. He was so good at bunting that he led the league in sacrifice hits in 1938 with 22. He never played a position other than second base, averaging almost 140 starts per season.
Doerr, who missed the 1945 season while serving in the U.S. Army, spent more seasons as the Red Sox’s second baseman than any other player.
He finished with a career .288 batting average, 2,042 hits and 223 home runs, which at the time was the third most by any second baseman. Doerr hit for the cycle twice and drove in 100 or more runs six times, with a high of 120 in 1950.
But no matter the on-field battles, Doerr remained revered by friends and opponents alike.
"The baseball world lost a giant with the passing of Bobby Doerr, a man who led by example and had a heart of gold," said Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "In an era with no team captains, Ted Williams dubbed him "The Silent Captain" of the Boston Red Sox, the team with whom he spent his entire 14-year career. A nine-time All-Star, he could bat anywhere in the lineup, drove in 90+ runs eight times and was a standout defensive second baseman. Bobby could also hit in the clutch, batting .409 in the 1946 World Series while also recording the only hit in two of Bob Feller's would-be no-hitters.
"He was a regular in Cooperstown after his 1986 election, where he was adored by his Hall of Fame teammates and baseball's fans alike."
Samantha Burkett is a freelance writer from Fairport, N.Y.