U.S. House honors N.J.’s Larry Doby, who made history as Major League Baseball’s 2nd black player

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Tuesday voted to give the Congressional Gold Medal to the late Larry Doby, who grew up in Paterson and became the second African-American to play major league baseball.

Doby, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame who joined the Cleveland Indians just months after Jackie Robinson integrated the major leagues in 1947, grew up in Paterson and played at Hinchliffe Stadium.

“Being second did not make his challenges any less difficult or his courage any less remarkable,” Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-9th Dist. said on the House floor.

The voice vote sends the resolution, sponsored by Pascrell  and Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, to the U.S. Senate.

Larry Doby nominated for medal

“You’ve got to get the other end of the building to move,” Pascrell said after the vote. “I’m bugging them all the time.”

Doby spent most of his career with the Indians, becoming the first black to homer in the World Series in 1948, and later became the second black manager behind Frank Robinson when he was tapped to lead the Chicago White Sox.

Doby later worked in the front office of the New Jersey Nets. He died in 2003.

Pascrell, the batting coach for the Democrats in the annual congressional baseball game, also played at Hinchliffe and was good enough to receive two major league tryouts with the Philadelphia Phillies.

He earlier successfully pushed for President Barack Obama to give Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra the presidential medal of freedom.

The Senate version is sponsored by U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio and Rob Portman, R-Ohio; and Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, R-S.C.

Doby was born in South Carolina.

Jonathan D. Salant may be reached at jsalant@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JDSalant or on Facebook. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.

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