cover image

Greatness in the Shadows

Larry Doby and the Integration of the American League

Douglas M. Branson

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 04/2016
Pages: 336
Subject: Sports and Recreation
eBook ISBN: 9780803285941


Just weeks after Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, Larry Doby joined Robinson in breaking the color barrier in the major leagues when he became the first black player to integrate the American League, signing with the Cleveland Indians in July 1947. Doby went on to be a seven-time All-Star center fielder who led the Indians to two pennants. In many respects Robinson and Doby were equals in their baseball talent and experiences and had remarkably similar playing careers: both were well-educated, well-spoken World War II veterans and both had played spectacularly, albeit briefly, in the Negro Leagues. Like Robinson, Doby suffered brickbats, knock-down pitches, spit in his face, and other forms of abuse and discrimination. Doby was also a pioneering manager, becoming the second black manager after Frank Robinson. Well into the 1950s Doby was the only African American All-Star in the American League during a period in which fifteen black players became National League All-Stars. Why is Doby largely forgotten as a central figure in baseball's integration? Why has he not been accorded his rightful place in baseball history? Greatness in the Shadows attempts to answer these questions, bringing Doby's story to life and sharing his achievements and firsts with a new generation.


Douglas M. Branson is the W. Edward Sell Chair in Business Law at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of nineteen books, including No Seat at the Table: How Corporate Governance and Law Keep Women Out of the Boardroom; The Last Male Bastion: Gender and the CEO Suite in America's Public Companies; and Three Tastes of Nuoc Mam: The Brown Water Navy and Visits to Vietnam.


"Eleven weeks after Jackie Robinson stepped onto the grass at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field and into American history, Larry Doby joined the Cleveland Indians, becoming the first African American in the American League. . . . Doby's trials, and the triumphs that earned him a place in Cooperstown, are a stirring story wonderfully told by Douglas Branson."—George F. Will, syndicated columnist for the Washington Post and author of Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball  

"Douglas Branson's new book on Larry Doby is a must-read for anyone who cares about the Jackie Robinson story and the integration of baseball. Doby has been neglected for far too long, so it's exciting to see Branson give Doby his due."—Terry Pluto, author of Our Tribe: A Baseball Memoir and columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer    

"From Bill Veeck to Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, Douglas Branson examines and contextualizes Larry Doby's contributions to the game during a time when baseball captivated the country. Branson's personal memories of his subject add depth to a well-researched account."—Bill Brink, baseball writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette