Red Sox great Do­err dies at 99

The Citizens' Voice - - Mlb - BY 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, died. He was 99.

Do­err died on 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. “And even with his Hall of Fame achieve­ments at sec­ond base, his char­ac­ter and per­son­al­ity out­shined it all.”

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,” Do­err told The As­so­ci­ated Press on his 90th birth­day in 2008, which the gov­er­nor of Ore­gon de­clared Bobby Do­err Day. “And I was in that medi­ocre class.”

Do­err’s mod­esty was be­lied by his stats: He fin­ished with 2,042 hits, 223 home runs 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 by the Veter­ans Com­mit­tee and the Red Sox re­tired his No. 1 jer­sey in 1988. The Red Sox hon­ored Do­err with a 2004 World Se­ries ring af­ter break­ing their 86-year cham­pi­onship drought.

He fre­quently led AL sec­ond base­men in dou­ble plays, putouts 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 re­turned from a year in the Navy to help 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 in 1980. Hall of Famer Carl Yas­trzem­ski cred­ited Do­err for help­ing him snap out of a slow start in the “Im­pos­si­ble Dream” sea­son of 1967, when the Red Sox won the AL pen­nant and Yaz was the league’s MVP.

“He was re­ally a big help to me, and he was close to everybody. Everybody loved him,” Yas­trzem­ski said. “There wasn’t a thing about him that you could dis­like. As classy as they come.”

Even ri­vals like Yan­kees star Tommy Hen­rich found it hard to dis­like Do­err, say­ing: “Bobby Do­err is one of the very few who played the game hard and re­tired with no ene­mies.”

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.

Do­err was the last sur­viv­ing mem­ber of the group.

“Now Ted, Johnny Pesky and Bobby are to­gether again,” for­mer Red Sox third base­man Wade Boggs said.

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.

As a kid, Do­err pa­pered his room with pic­tures of big lea­guers, and re­mained a fan while a big lea­guer him­self, once run­ning to his locker for a bat to get au­to­graphed by Babe Ruth when he showed up at Fen­way Park. He was 16 when he joined the Hol­ly­wood Stars

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

Bos­ton Red Sox left fielder Ted Wil­liams, left, tests the arm of sec­ond base­man Bobby Do­err be­fore a game on May 14, 1942. Do­err, a Hall of Famer, died Mon­day at 99.

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