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Senate introduces bill to honor Doby

MLB.com

A group of United States senators has introduced a bill that would honor baseball legend Larry Doby, who helped integrate Major League Baseball when he became the American League's first African-American player in 1947, with a Congressional Gold Medal for his career and contributions to the civil rights movement.

This year will mark the 70th anniversary of Doby's Major League debut for the Indians on July 5, 1947. Doby would go on to become a seven-time All-Star, a 1948 World Series champion and a Hall of Famer, inducted into Cooperstown in 1998.

A group of United States senators has introduced a bill that would honor baseball legend Larry Doby, who helped integrate Major League Baseball when he became the American League's first African-American player in 1947, with a Congressional Gold Medal for his career and contributions to the civil rights movement.

This year will mark the 70th anniversary of Doby's Major League debut for the Indians on July 5, 1947. Doby would go on to become a seven-time All-Star, a 1948 World Series champion and a Hall of Famer, inducted into Cooperstown in 1998.

"Larry Doby seldom receives credit for his role in integrating all of professional baseball and it's past time to honor his contributions to both civil rights and America's game," Ohio senator Sherrod Brown said in a statement. "Doby's heroism surpasses his remarkable skill -- he overcame discrimination and hostility to break barriers, leading Cleveland to victory and moving our country in the right direction."

Doby played 13 MLB seasons, 10 of which were in Cleveland. He also played for the White Sox and Tigers. He finished his career with 1,515 hits and 253 home runs.

"The Cleveland Indians organization is very proud of Larry Doby's legacy," Indians senior vice president of public affairs Bob DiBiasio said. "Mr. Doby, a symbol of equality and freedom of opportunity, stood with grace, dignity and a competitive spirit that resonated throughout Ohio and across America."

After his playing career, Doby went on to manage the White Sox, becoming the second African-American manager in Major League history.

Doby passed away in 2003 at age 79.

"As the first player to integrate the American League, Larry Doby played an instrumental role in our country's civil rights movement," New Jersey senator Cory Booker said. "His perseverance through adversity inspired a generation and made a lasting impact on American history. ... The Congressional Gold Medal is a fitting recognition for an individual who helped change our national pastime and our country for the better."

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.