Bos­ton great, Blue Jays coach, Bobby Do­err dies at 99

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JEFF BARNARD

GRANTS PASS, ORE. — Bobby Do­err, the Hall of Fame sec­ond base­man dubbed the “Silent Cap­tain” of the Bos­ton Red Sox by long­time team­mate and friend Ted Wil­liams, has died. He was 99. Do­err died Mon­day in Junc­tion City, Ore­gon, the Red Sox said Tues­day in a state­ment. The Red Sox said Do­err had been the old­est liv­ing ma­jor league player. “Bobby Do­err was part of an era of baseball giants and still stood out as one him­self,” Red Sox owner John Henry said in the state­ment. “And even with his Hall of Fame achieve­ments at sec­ond base, his char­ac­ter and per­son­al­ity out­shined it all. He will be missed.” Signed out of the old Pa­cific Coast League on the same scout­ing trip that brought Wil­liams to Fen­way Park, Do­err played 14 sea­sons with the Red Sox and joined his fish­ing buddy in the Hall of Fame in 1986. He had a .288 life­time av­er­age and helped the Red Sox to the 1946 World Se­ries. The nine-time All-Star of­ten for­gave his more ac­com­plished friend for his sto­ried anger and im­pa­tience. “Ted couldn’t un­der­stand medi­ocre, see. And I was in that medi­ocre class,” Do­err said on his 90th birth­day in 2008, which the gov­er­nor of Ore­gon de­clared Bobby Do­err Day. His mod­esty was be­lied by his stats: He fin­ished with 2,042 hits, 223 homers and 1,247 RBIs. And he once went 414 games with­out an er­ror — a record at the time. His six sea­sons with at least 100 RBIs was not matched by an­other sec­ond base­man for 25 years. Do­err was in­ducted into the Na­tional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Red Sox re­tired his No. 1 jer­sey in 1988. The Red Sox hon­oured Do­err with a 2004 World Se­ries ring af­ter break­ing their 86-year cham­pi­onship drought. As a hit­ter, Do­err was al­ways look­ing for the fast­ball, fig­ur­ing he couldn’t do much with a break­ing ball un­less it was a hang­ing curve. “I didn’t like to hit guys like Bob Feller,” Do­err told the AP. “He had a big mo­tion and was a lit­tle on the wild side. You just had to bow your neck and stay in there.” He fre­quently led AL sec­ond base­men in dou­ble plays, put-outs and as­sists, cred­it­ing his field­ing skill to end­less hours spent bounc­ing a rub­ber ball against the front steps of his fam­ily’s Los An­ge­les home. He helped the Red Sox win the AL pen­nant in 1946 — the only time his teams got past the Yan­kees — but they lost Game 7 of the World Se­ries to the St. Louis Car­di­nals when Enos Slaugh­ter scored the win­ning run from first on a sin­gle. Do­err long main­tained that with just one more strong re­lief pitcher, they could have won more pen­nants. Forced to re­tire by a bad back in 1951, Do­err lived out his re­tire­ment in Ore­gon, his adopted home af­ter spend­ing a win­ter fish­ing for steel­head on the Rogue River and meet­ing his fu­ture wife. When Do­err re­tired, he picked up a bam­boo fly rod Wil­liams de­signed and named for him — but Do­err still had to pay for it. Do­err re­turned to the Red Sox as a coach from 1967-69 and was a bat­ting coach for the Toronto Blue Jays 1977 to 1981. He was wear­ing a Blue Jays cap in a home video­tape while de­bat­ing hit­ting with Wil­liams dur­ing a 1987 fish­ing trip. Wil­liams main­tained a bat­ter needed to swing with a slight up­per­cut to squarely con­tact the ball on its down­ward an­gle from the pitcher’s mound; Do­err favoured a level swing, con­vinced that the top­spin put on the ball would help it carry. The life­long friend­ship be­tween Do­err, Wil­liams, Johnny Pesky and Dom DiMag­gio was de­scribed by David Hal­ber­stam in the 2003 book “The Team­mates: A Por­trait of a Friend­ship.” A statue com­mem­o­rat­ing that friend­ship was un­veiled at Fen­way in 2010. He was the last sur­vivor of the group. Born Robert Per­sh­ing Do­err in Los An­ge­les on April 7, 1918, he fig­ured he would have grown up to work for the tele­phone com­pany like the rest of his fam­ily, if he hadn’t found a ca­reer in baseball.


Bos­ton Red Sox Hall of Famer Bobby Do­err, who of­ten led AL sec­ond base­men in dou­ble plays, put-outs and as­sists, turns a dou­ble-play on the Tigers’ Steve Sou­chock May 20, 1951.


A life­time .288 hit­ter, Bobby Do­err was the hit­ting coach for the ex­pan­sion Toronto Blue Jays from 1977 to 1981.

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