Robert Pershing "Bobby" Doerr is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) second baseman and coach. He played his entire 14-year baseball career for the Boston Red Sox (1937–51). Doerr achieved a batting average over .300 in several seasons. He set Red Sox team records in several statistical categories during his career. Doerr missed one season due to military service during World War II. He is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and (in December 2016) the oldest living member of the Hall of Fame. He is the last living player to have played against Lou Gehrig.
Bobby was the second child born to Harold Doerr and Francis Ida Hermberger. Harold worked for the telephone company in Los Angeles working his way up from a cable splicer to cable foreman. Francis was a home maker. They had three children all born in California - Harold born in 1914, Bobby born in 1918, and Dorothy born in 1922. Bobby's middle name - Pershing - was to honor World Was I General John Pershing.
Bobby began playing baseball as a young boy with his older brother and friends from the neighborhood. As a teenager he played on an American Legion team that had 4 future professional baseball players - George McDonald at first base (11 of his 18 seasons were with the PCL San Diego Padres), Bobby Doerr at second base (14 seasons with the Red Sox), Mickey Owen at shortstop (13 seasons in the major leagues), and Steve Mesner at third (six seasons in the National League.)
Bobby played two years of high school baseball at Freemont High School in Los Angeles. More than 40 professional baseball players have attended this high school, more than any other high school in America. Bobby signed a pro contract with the Hollywood Sheiks in 1934. (In 1936 the Sheiks moved to San Diego and were renamed the Padres.) The Boston Red Sox purchased Bobby's contract and in 1937 he made his debut with them as lead off batter on opening day.
He played for the Red Sox throughout his career, missing only the 1945 season while in the Army stationed at Camp Roberts in California. He was a 9 time All Star and the Most Valuable Player in the American League once. He "hit for the cycle" twice in his career - joining only a handful of players to ever accomplish that feat and is still the only Red Sox player to ever do it.
Bobby married Monica Rosamund Terpin, daughter of Don Terpin and Maude Owens. They had at least one son, Don, who would become a pitcher playing both college ball and semi-pro for several seasons. Monica suffered from multiple sclerosis which left her wheelchair bound for the last years of her life. Monica died in 2003 and is buried at the Rest Lawn Memorial Park, in Junction City, Lane County, Oregon, USA.
Bobby ended his playing career at the age of 33 after playing 14 seasons. He was lured back to "scout" and be a roaming coach for Boston's minor leagues and later was the hitting coach for the Toronto Blue Jays. In 1986 Bobby was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and in 1988 his number - #1 - was retired by the Boston Red Sox.
"California Birth Index, 1905-1995," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VGKK-3FD : 27 November 2014), Robert P Doerr, 07 Apr 1918; citing Los Angeles, California, United States, Department of Health Services, Vital Statistics Department, Sacramento.
"United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHQY-9CM : accessed 20 December 2016), Robert Doerr in household of Harold A Doerr, Los Angeles Assembly District 71, Los Angeles, California, United States; citing ED 305, sheet 3B, line 52, family 292, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 111; FHL microfilm 1,820,111.
"United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K4V6-Q5X : 17 May 2014), Robert Doerr, Ward 21, Boston, Boston City, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 15-736, sheet 11A, family 431, NARA digital publication T627 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012), roll 1681.
"United States World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8B8-YX2 : 5 December 2014), Robert P Doerr, enlisted 20 Sep 1944, Portland, Oregon, United States; citing "Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938-1946," database, The National Archives: Access to Archival Databases (AAD) (http://aad.archives.gov : National Archives and Records Administration, 2002); NARA NAID 126323, National Archives at College Park, Maryland.
Society for American Baseball Research - "Bobby Doerr" by Bill Nowlin - http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/afad9e3d
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