The Red Sox announced this morning that Bobby Doerr passed away last night at the age of 99.
Doerr, a Pacific Coast League product who was signed at the same time as his longtime friend Ted Williams, debuted with Boston in 1937 and played 14 seasons for the Sox, retiring after the 1951 season. He was a nine-time All-Star who, for his career, he hit .288/.362/.461 with 223 homers and 1,247 RBI. He drove in 100 runs six times, which was unusual for a second baseman, though perhaps not that unusual for a guy who had Ted Williams hitting in front of him.
In his best season, 1944, he hit .325/.399/.528. That slugging percentage led the American League. In his lone World Series appearance he hit .409/.458/.591 as the Red Sox lost to the Cardinals in 1946. He was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1986.
At 99, Doerr was the oldest living Hall of Famer. He was also the last of the famous group of Red Sox players, including Williams, Dominic DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky, who, in the 1940s and 1950s, forged the identity of the storied franchise for millions of northeast fans.
While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.
Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”