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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

New England Sports 366, #51: Bobby Doerr

Bobby Doerr is often relegated in Boston sports history to a sort of splendid sidekick, a Robin to Ted Williams' Batman. This is a disservice to one of the best second basemen of all time, and one of the best Red Sox of all time. Doerr played fourteen seasons in Boston (every single one of his 1,865 games at 2B), and put up some great offensive numbers. 223 home runs (then third all-time for second basemen), 2,042 hits, and over a thousand runs scored and batted in. He was a nine-time all-star, and probably the best defensive second baseman of his era.

Like Ted, Doerr took time away from the game to serve in uniform during World War II (he missed the 1945 season while in the Army, though he never deployed overseas). Doerr was at the heart of that competitive 1940s Sox team, alongside Williams and Foxx and DiMaggio and Cronin. He was probably the best offensive player for the Sox in the ill-fated 1946 World Series. A member of the baseball Hall of Fame, Doerr's #1 is rightfully retired by the Red Sox.

Doerr is probably best remembered for his post-playing longevity. He was 99 when he passed away in 2017, the oldest living former major leaguer. The last man to have played in the 1930s. The last man to play against Lou Gehrig. Doerr was a link to a bygone time, of trains and spitballs and flannel uniforms and segregation and Ted Williams.

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