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Jerry Izenberg's latest book 'Larry Doby in Black and White' gives a detailed account of baseball's invisible hero

Jerry Izenberg's new book about his dear friend Larry Doby
Jerry Izenberg
Jerry Izenberg's new book about his dear friend Larry Doby

Hall of Fame sportswriter and author Jerry Izenberg and MLB Hall of Famer Larry Doby became great friends over the years. In fact, Izenberg was one of the few people that Doby ever trusted during his playing days.

Izenberg's new book Larry Doby in Black and White: The Story of a Baseball Pioneer gives a detailed account of the man who broke the American League's color barrier in 1947.

Izenberg returned to SportsJam with Doug Doyle to talk about his latest work, his relationship with Larry Doby and why Jerry thinks Doby faced a much more difficult situation in Cleveland than Jackie Robinson did in Brooklyn.

"The first chapter is titled Cleveland Ain't Brooklyn. That was the whole difference. Jackie Robinson was a citizen of Brooklyn. Larry, who kept everything inside him was playing baseball in a segregated town when he got to Cleveland. He had a manager who didn't like him."

Jerry Izenberg joins SportsJam with Doug Doyle to talk about his new book Larry Doby in Black and White
Doug Doyle/Zoom
Jerry Izenberg joins SportsJam with Doug Doyle to talk about his new book Larry Doby in Black and White

In Larry Doby in Black and White, Izenberg recalls a snowy night when the Cleveland Indians center fielder spilled out many stories to Jerry about what it was like in his early days when many of his teammates didn't want him around. Izenberg says he eventually figured out why Doby would confide in him.

"I hope the trust was built over the years. I was his hometown columnist. When he was not playing baseball he was reading Jerry Izenberg. I was always writing about social issues."

Izenberg's book couldn't have come out at a better time, with the recent announcement that Negro Leagues records for more than 2,300 players will be incorporated into Major League Baseball's database.

Larry Doby was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998
Larry Doby family
Larry Doby was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998

The book contains painful and sometimes uplifting stories about Doby's life, his amazing relationship with his beloved wife Helyn, and those who help Larry became a baseball legend.

A few weeks after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier in the Majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Larry Doby would join the Cleveland Indians, breaking the AL's color barrier. Doby was part of the Indians World Series Championship team in 1948. He was also a star infielder with the Newark Eagles of the Negro Leagues. Prior to that, Doby was a second baseman for the all-Black Smart Set team in Paterson, NJ. His teammates included the late Monte Irvin and John Ellerbee. Both Irvin and Ellerbee were both guests on Sportsjam. You can catch those shows here.

Larry Doby broke the AL's color barrier in 1947 when he became a player with the Cleveland Indians [Margaret Reardon]
Margaret Reardon
Larry Doby broke the AL's color barrier in 1947 when he became a player with the Cleveland Indians [Margaret Reardon]

Larry Doby was born in South Carolina but his family moved to Paterson, New Jersey when he was a teenager. Doby would become an All State athlete in several sports at Eastside High School. His son Larry Doby Jr.. joined SportsJam in 2022 to talk about his dad and Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson.

You can SEE the entire SportsJam interview with Jerry Izenberg here.

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Doug Doyle has been News Director at WBGO since 1998 and has taken his department to new heights in coverage and recognition. Doug and his staff have received more than 250 awards from organizations like PRNDI (now PMJA), AP, New York Association of Black Journalists, Garden State Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists.