*Originally posted on April 7th, 2011
93 years ago, on this day (April 7th) Bobby Doerr was born. One of only 2 surviving members of the original 1936 PCL Padres team, Doerr only spent one season in San Diego but left a lasting impact. Without guys like Doerr, Ted Williams and Vince DiMaggio who knows if the team would be where it is today? So with that said….Thank you Mr. Doerr for your contributions to San Diego baseball and I hope you have a Happy Birthday!!
Name: Robert Pershing Doerr
Born: April, 7th 1918 in Los Angeles, CA
Position: Second Base
Years with the Padres: 1936
Major League Teams: Boston Red Sox (1937-1944, 1946-1951)
Why you should know him: He’s Bobby Doerr!! You’d better ALREADY know who he is. Both a PCL Padres Hall of Famer & a MLB Hall of Famer and one of only 7 Red Sox players to have their number retired.
What (Bill) Swank Sez: Bobby Doerr was born in Los Angeles and began his professional career while a high school athlete in 1934. Following his season in San Diego, Doerr played from 1937-1951 with the Boston Red Sox, where he drove in one hundred runs six times and at second base set an AL fielding record for consecutive chances without an error. A Yankee opponent once called him “one of the very few men who played the game hard and retired with no enemies.” He was elected to the San Diego Padres’ Hall of Fame in 1966 and Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1986.**
What the Fro Sez: A 9 time All-Star, who missed the 1945 season to serve in the Army during WWII, Doerr was regarded as one of the top defensive second baseman of his era. Known as a “Silent Leader”, he recieved MVP votes in 8 consecutive seasons (’42-’50) but never finished higher than 3rd. Due to a back injury, Doerr had to retire in 1951 at the age of 33, yet still finished with 223 home runs, 2042 hits and 1227 RBIs in his career. In his lone season with the PCL Padres, he lead the team in hits (238) & average (.342) while finishing in the top 3 in runs, doubles & triples. He had previously played with the Hollywood Stars for 2 seasons starting in 1934 at the age of 16 and came to San Diego when the team moved there. He would go on to become a scout for the Red Sox from ’57-’66 and their first base coach from ’67-’69 before resigning after Boston manager Dick Williams (another Padres connection!!) was fired. Since 2007, he has been the oldest living player in the Hall of Fame and currently resides in “rural Oregon” while doing little “travel anymore because it’s to hard on his legs”.
**Check out an amazing interview with Bobby Doerr in the book Echoes of Lane Field by San Diego’s resident PCL Padres historian, Bill Swank
You can follow Rick on Twitter @RJsFro if you’d like.