Sunday, June 19, 2011

Red Sox 1-36: 1 is for…

Uniform #1, retired for Bobby Doerr

First, a quick editor’s note. This list is not going to be a list of players and their uniform numbers. It will be a discussion of numbers, and how they are important to Red Sox history. But, when the Red Sox decide to retire a number, they have pretty much assured that it is important for that reason. So, let’s talk about Bobby Doerr.

I didn’t see Bobby Doerr play. I’m sure you know that. I wasn’t alive when Doerr was coaching with the Red Sox either. So, my personal contact with Doerr is pretty limited. What sort of contact have I had? I’m honestly not sure. I’ve been to a couple different events at Fenway where older players have been on the field. I saw Dom DiMaggio twice at such events. If I remember correctly, Doerr was too ill to make the trip out to the Ted Williams memorial celebration. But, I think he made the 100th anniversary ceremony a few years before that. I think I saw him then. Other than that?

My first trip to Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame was in 1986. That was the year Bobby Doerr was inducted. No, I wasn’t at the ceremony, and I didn’t see him there. But, as a new inductee, he was on the cover of the yearbook I bought. And, I always remembered seeing that old-time Red Sox player staring back at me. It was a connection to a history I knew nothing about. Who was this player from long ago that I, honestly, had never heard of? He was obviously very good. It was a neat feeling to have a Red Sox player inducted the year I was there. So, there’s always been a special place for Bobby Doerr in my Red Sox fandom. And I still have that yearbook.

1 is for #1, Bobby Doerr

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