“Even after I played ten years of ball, I still felt like I had to play well or somebody might take my place. They had plenty of players in the minor leagues who were good enough to come up and take your job, and I think that kept us going all the time. I hustled and put that extra effort in all of the time.” – Bobby Doerr
“The four toughest batters I ever faced were Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Bobby Doerr.” – Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller who saw two of his potential no-hitters broken up by Doerr
In 1986 the veterans’ committee named former Red Sox captain Bobby Doerr to The National Baseball Hall of Fame making him only the second enshrines, after his teammate and lifelong friend Ted Williams, to have played his entire major league career with the Red Sox.
Considered the consummate leader and gentleman by his teammates Doerr was a mainstay at second base for fourteen seasons, missing only the 1945 season for military service. He remains among the Red Sox’s top ten in career categories such as games (6th), at-bats (6th), runs (6th), hits (7th), doubles (7th), home runs (8th), RBI (6th), and walks (7th).
Always a superb fielder he led American League second basemen with 118 double plays in his first full season in 1938 and was always compared with fellow Hall of Famer Joe Gordon as they were considered the two best American League second basemen of the forties. The only difference was the five world championship rings he won as a member of the Yankees and Indians.
Doerr made the most of his lone World Series appearance in 1946 batting .409 with nine hits, one home run, and three RBIs in a heartbreaking seven-game losing effort. In 1948, 49, and 50 the Red Sox would lose the American League pennant by a combined total of six games with the 48 title was decided by a one-game playoff at Fenway Park against the Indians.
Back trouble forced Doerr to retire at the age of 33 following the 1951 season. His legacy with the Red Sox went far beyond statistical excellence as he led a formidable team that included his lifelong friends Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Ted Williams whose comradeship award-winning journalist David Halberstam wrote a book entitled “The Teammates, A Portrait of a Friendship” in 2003.
Doerr was also a key member of another Red Sox championship team in 1967 when he served as team batting coach and chief mentor to Carl Yastrzemski for the season in which the left fielder won both the batting triple crown and league MVP honors.
Doerr made his final Fenway Park appearance in 2012 for a celebration of the park’s centennial on the day he marked the 75th anniversary of his first ever home game.