Bobby was the ‘silent cap­tain’ of ‘The Team­mates’

Boston Herald - - NEWS -

And so, with the death of Bobby Do­err Mon­day at 99 in his beloved Ore­gon, the door for­mally closed on an epic chap­ter of Red Sox his­tory, im­mor­tal­ized out­side Gate B at Fen­way Park by a stun­ning bronze statue that in­tro­duces new gen­er­a­tions of fans to “The Team­mates.”

Bobby, who was the old­est liv­ing ex-ma­jor lea­guer, might have been the least known of the four Team­mates around here be­cause as soon as he hung ’em up in 1951 he headed back to those rivers and woods he loved, fish­ing for steel­head in the Rogue River, far from a lime­light he never sought.

Short­stop Johnny Pesky? He was every­one’s grand­fa­ther. Cen­ter fielder Dom DiMag­gio, who Bos­ton diehards in­sisted was “bet­ter than his brother Joe?” He would achieve great busi­ness suc­cess here.

And Ted Wil­liams was Ted.

What more need- ed to be said?

But sec­ond base­man Do­err was, in Ted’s words, “our silent cap­tain,” the solid rock upon which the fran­chise pros­pered in the glory days sur­round­ing World War II.

In a Rose Gar­den cer­e­mony com­mem­o­rat­ing the 50th an­niver­sary of his .406 sea­son, Ted spoke for them all when he told Ge­orge H.W. Bush, “Mr. Pres­i­dent, I’ve al­ways known what a lucky guy I am. I was born an Amer­i­can, I served my coun­try and I got to play baseball.”

And, oh, how these four played it to­gether.

“Bobby was so smooth, es­pe­cially on the dou­ble play,” Walpole’s Joe Mor­gan, 86, a for­mer Sox man­ager, re­called. “It looked so easy for him. But more than that, the first thing that comes to my mind about him is that he was one of the nicest guys I ever met in baseball.”

No slouch with the bat, Do­err, a Hall of Famer and seven-time All-Star, had six 100-RBI sea­sons and a .288 ca­reer bat­ting av­er­age.

“He was a quiet guy,” Mor­gan said, “but he loved to get Ted go­ing, which didn’t take long. He’d say, ‘You know, Ted, you’ve gotta swing down a lit­tle on those high balls,’ and Ted would go out of his mind, yelling about ‘up­per­cuts’ while Bobby stood there laugh­ing.

“Hey, they were all hit­ters, so no won­der they were a happy bunch.”

When Bobby, then 87, came back here for a brief visit a dozen years ago, look­ing tanned and ter­rific, some­one asked him for the se­cret to such ro­bust health.

“I have very good friends, great faith in God and a good sense of hu­mor,” he replied. “I’m just a happy per­son.”

In­deed he was, and a classy one, too.

The statue says that “to Red Sox fans the world over, they are sim­ply known as Bobby, Ted, Dom and Johnny.”

With apolo­gies to Notre Dame and Grant­land Rice, they were our Four Horse­men, des­tined to live for­ever in Red Sox lore.

Good­bye, Mr. Do­err, and

God bless.


IN MEM­ORY: Trevor Lane of Bos­ton, above, places flow­ers at the foot of a statue of Hall of Fame Bos­ton Red Sox player Bobby Do­err, out­side Fen­way Park yes­ter­day. Do­err died Mon­day at 99. Other stat­ues de­pict Red Sox play­ers Ted Wil­liams, left, Johnny...


BOS­TON REP­RE­SENTED: Bos­ton Red Sox sec­ond base­man Bobby Do­err, top, poses dur­ing the 1946 sea­son and works kitchen duty while train­ing for the Army. Past and present Bos­ton Red Sox le­gends, above from left, Ja­son Varitek, Johnny Pesky, David Or­tiz, Tim...

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