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Doby, Larry

In 1923, in the town of Camden, South Carolina, the Hall of Fame baseball player Larry Doby was born. He is best known for being the first black to join the American League (1947), and was only the second black in all of professional baseball (second only to Jackie Robinson). His family moved to Patterson, New Jersey during his childhood, and he began to play baseball for East Side High School. Baseball was not his only talent, for he won 11 varsity letters in football, track, baseball, and basketball. He later attended Long Island University and Virginia Union University.

Doby began playing semi-professional baseball in the Negro Leagues for the Newark Eagles in 1942. Shortly after he began to play, the United States Navy drafted him into service for World War II. After serving two years, he returned to the Eagles and began playing once again. Leading his team from second base, they defeated the Kansas City Monarchs for the Negro League World Series. His play caught the attention of many, and by 1947, he was signed to play with the Cleveland Indians.

As the baseball season wore on, he played consistently more and more, earning the much needed respect of his team members and fans. Just one year later, he led the Indians to defeat the Boston Red Sox in the 1948 World Series. During his career, he twice led the league in homeruns at the end of the year, and received seven consecutive All Star nominations. Asked about prejudice, he said, "I couldn't react to (prejudicial) situations from a physical standpoint. My reaction was to hit the ball as far as I could."