Robert Pershing Doerr is known as one of the greatest Boston Red Sox players in history. His 14 season career all took place with the Boston Red Sox. Doerr had an outstanding career batting average of .288 and 223 home runs. Sadly, he passed away recently on Nov. 13, 2017, but it’s never too late to remember what he’s done.
At the age of 16, Doerr has started his career in baseball in the Pacific Coast League with the Hollywood Stars. During his two seasons with the Stars he hit four home runs and had a batting average of .303. Only two years later would he graduate from Fremont High School in Los Angeles and be bought from the Stars with George Myatt by the Boston Red Sox.
Doerr would spend the 1936 season with the San Diego Padres, who were the AA team for the Red Sox. He hit two home runs, but showed immense skill by batting .342 with 51 extra base hits. While in San Diego, Doerr became good friends with another Red Sox legend, Ted Williams. The Red Sox saw his potential, and in April 20, 1937, he made his MLB debut. In his rookie year Doerr played 55 games, batting .224 with two home runs.
During his second season the second baseman would change his number from nine to one, and he batted .289. By his eighth season, Doerr was batting .291 with 103 home runs, 623 RBIs, and had played in the All-Star game four times.
In September of 1944 Doerr entered the military and missed the 1945 season. In his returning season, he batted .271 with 18 home runs, 116 RBIs, and a .799 OPS. That season was his only taste of the postseason, playing in six of the World Series games. During the World Series, Doerr hit an outstanding .409 with a 1.049 OPS and one home run. In the end, the Red Sox lost the World Series due to Enos Slaughter’s Mad Dash.
After five more seasons, Doerr was forced to retire due to a spinal injury. His career stats over the 14 seasons was a .362 batting average, .823 OPS, 223 home runs, and 1,247 RBIs. He appeared in nine All-Star games.
However, the former serviceman wasn’t done with baseball. In 1957, Doerr came back as a scout for the Red Sox until 1966. In 1967, manager Dick Williams hired Doerr to be the first base coach for the season. The Red Sox ended up losing the World Series, but winning their first American League pennant in 20 years.
In 1986, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Two years later, the Red Sox retired the number “one” for Doerr and then in 1995 along with many other Red Sox players, was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame. By the time of his death, Doerr was the last living person to play baseball in the 1930s and the last living person to play against Lou Gehrig.
While he may no longer be with us, Bobby Doerr will surely be remembered as one of the greatest second basemen in Red Sox history.