A few days ago the city of Cleveland marked the 65th anniversary of the integration of the American League, achieved when Paterson native and African-American Larry Doby signed with the hometown Indians.
Less well known than Jackie Robinson, who had broken mainstream professional baseball's color line a scant few months earlier by joining the National League's Brooklyn Dodgers, Doby was still very much a pioneer himself, and a lonely one at that. The American League, which included teams in the heart of the Jim Crow South, was far slower to integrate than the half of professional baseball Robinson joined.
Doby, who died in 2003, also had deep Jersey roots -- along with growing up in the Silk City, he played for the Newark Eagles of the Negro League immediately prior to joining the majors.
The city of Cleveland chose to honor Doby last week by naming a street near the ballpark after him. Jerry Izenberg, the veteran sportswriter for The Star Ledger, argues Newark should follow suit and honor Doby in a similarly public fashion.
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