Doby to Galarraga is latest Hall connection

September 29th, 2021

In the YouTube Series called Hall of Fame Connections, produced by MLB Network and made possible by a grant from I LOVE NY/New York State’s Division of Tourism, the finale focuses on how Larry Doby connects to Armando Galarraga.

The series, driven by Camping World, looks at the Hall of Fame’s collection from a new and exciting angle, with each episode telling a different story of how two seemingly unrelated artifacts in the Museum’s vast collection connect to each other, crossing through generations of baseball history.

Each two-part episode features a narrative storytelling element that weaves through the history of some of the Museum’s most iconic artifacts, and the Hall of Fame’s curators conversing about those artifacts and stories with MLB Network personality Carlos Peña, a former MLB All-Star, and sports journalist Lindsay Berra, Yogi’s granddaughter.

The series consists of 13 episodes, all available to stream for free through the Hall of Fame’s YouTube channel at The 13th and final episode, titled "From Doby to the Imperfect Game," is available now. The episode is hosted by Bob Kendrick, who is the president of the Negro League Baseball Museum.

Whenever a great play is made in baseball, the Baseball Hall of Fame makes sure it gets a piece of history. Here is what to expect for the 13th episode.

Following Jackie
A few months after Jackie Robinson became the first African American to break the color barrier and play in the Major Leagues in April 1947, Doby made history by becoming the first African American to play in the American League. Doby had a career .287 batting average and was a 10-time All-Star while playing for the Indians, White Sox and Tigers. Doby also made history after his playing career ended. A few years after Frank Robinson became the first African American to manage a Major League team, Doby became the second African American to manage in the big leagues. In the middle of the 1978 season, Doby took charge of the White Sox and went 37-50. But being second shouldn’t be the only thing he is remembered for: In 1948, Doby was the first African American to hit a home run in the World Series. In Game 3, Doby hit the big fly off Johnny Sain in the third inning. Four years later, Doby became the first African American to lead the American or National League in home runs in a season, with 32 in 1952.

Doby’s manager
Doby began his big league career with the Newark Eagles of the Negro Leagues, and he helped them win the World Series in 1946. The manager of that team was a fellow Hall of Famer named Biz Mackey, who was one of the best all-around catchers in baseball history. As a player, Mackey made his mark in 1923 by helping Hilldale to the first Eastern Colored Championship. His teammates included Pop Lloyd, Judy Johnson and Louis Santop, all Hall of Famers. For winning the title, owner Ed Bolden rewarded his club with a belt buckle, which is on display in Cooperstown.

Barnstorming in Japan
In 1927, Mackey was a member of the barnstorming Philadelphia Royal Giants, a team that took a 48-game tour in Japan, the first such trip for Negro League players. The tour was a success that helped lead to the formation of the country’s first professional league. The scrapbook of that tour is displayed in the Hall. The scrapbook was created by the Japanese American Kenichi Zenimura of the Fresno Athletic Club. Zenimura toured alongside the Royal Giants.

Zenimura loves baseball
During World War II, Zenimura was forced to sell his belongings and relocate to an internment camp in the middle of the Arizona desert. In those days, people of Japanese ancestry were considered potential threats because Japan was at war with the United States. Despite the heat and poor conditions, Zenimura constructed a baseball field near the Gila river that would remind people of a happier time. The baseball diamond became known as Zenimura Field. The baselines were drawn using flour, rice bags stood in for bases, and home plate, which is displayed in Cooperstown, was handmade of wood. Zenimura organized a 32-team league in Arizona. Looking for competition, one of his teams played a high school team called the Tucson Badgers, who lost to Zenimura’s team in 1945, breaking a 52-game winning streak. After the game, the two teams had a picnic and shared sumo wrestling lessons.

Remembering the game
In 2006, the Tucson Sidewinders, then the Triple-A affiliate of the D-backs, commemorated the 1945 matchup. Later that year, the Sidewinders won 91 games and defeated Triple-A Toledo for the Triple-A Championship. On that Toledo team was outfielder/infielder Ryan Raburn, who would go on to play 14 years in the big leagues including time with the Tigers, Indians and Nationals.

The near-perfect game
Raburn was on the bench on June 2, 2010, when it looked like Tigers teammate, right-hander Armando Galarraga, would pitch a perfect game. With two outs in the ninth, Indians shortstop Jason Donald hit a weak grounder to first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who made a perfect throw to Galarraga for what looked like the final out of the game, but first-base umpire Jim Joyce called Donald safe. Replays showed that Donald was out, but this was before video could overturn a call. Galarraga went on to pitch a one-hitter. The first-base bag and the spikes Galarraga used to step on the bag are now on display in the Hall of Fame.