|Former Red Sox great Doerr says farewell to Fenway|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 02 August 2007 12:47|
Saying he might not be up to another cross-country trip to the ballpark where played his entire career, the 89-year-old second baseman was saluted before the Boston Red Sox beat Baltimore 7-4.
``Old baseball players never die, we just fade away,'' Doerr said, echoing Gen. Douglas MacArthur's speech to Congress.
Dubbed by Ted Williams the ``silent captain of the Red Sox,'' Doerr said he'll never miss watching a game, even if not in person. To help him stay in touch from his home in Illahe, Ore., the Red Sox presented him with a television set for the second ``Bobby Doerr Day'' - exactly 60 years after the first.
Doerr, who played 14 seasons for the Red Sox, arrived on the diamond in a green, vintage Ford convertible. Former double-play partner Johnny Pesky, now a Red Sox instructor, and pitcher Dave ``Boo'' Ferriss shared the ride.
Doerr took the microphone before the game and made sure to compliment current Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia and wish the AL East leaders luck.
``I just think Bobby - Mr. Doerr - is a classy guy, and our players looked excited,'' Boston manager Terry Francona said. ``On a hot day, a day game after a night game ... guys that weren't playing, they're all out there watching. I thought that was really respectful and deserved.''
Said Pedroia: ``He said he's been watching and following me, and to keep playing hard, have fun and enjoy it. He played the game the right way and always played hard, so for him to say that meant a lot.''
Maureen Cronin, daughter of the late Joe Cronin who managed the Red Sox from 1935-47, also was there in Doerr's honor. But Dom DiMaggio, 90, a former outfielder and close friend of Doerr's, could not attend because he was ill.
The friendship among Doerr, Pesky, DiMaggio and Williams was the subject of a book written by David Halberstam in 2003 called ``The Teammates.''
Doerr batted .288 with 223 home runs and 1,247 RBIs with Boston from 1937-51, missing the '45 season to serve in World War II. He had six 100-RBI seasons - an accomplishment that was not matched by another second baseman for 25 years - before a back injury forced him to retire.
He helped lead Boston to the 1946 World Series. He returned to the Red Sox as a coach from 1967-69.
Doerr was first honored with a day in his honor on Aug. 2, 1947, when the nine-time All-Star was in his 10th season. Before a game with the Detroit Tigers, teammates and fans showered him with gifts; at the time, he said he hoped he could stay with the Red Sox for another 50 years.
He was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1986 and to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1995, and his No. 1 jersey was officially retired by the club in 1988.
Doerr has campaigned for Pesky and DiMaggio to be inducted in Cooperstown, noting that they missed three peak years of their baseball careers while serving in the military during World War II.