How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball
A TRUE TALE WITH
A CHERRY ON TOP
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
(pub.1.4.2022) 40 pages
Author: Audrey Vernick
Illustrator: Cannaday Chapman
Character: Larry Doby
"In 1947, Larry Doby signed with the Cleveland Indians, becoming the first Black player in the American leagues. He endured terrible racism, both from fans and his fellow teammates. Despite this, he became a unifying force on and off the field, and went on to become a seven-time All Star.
Illustrated with Cannaday Chapman’s bold, stylized illustrations, this exceptional biography tells the story of an unsung hero who not only opened doors for those behind him, but set amazing records during his Hall of Fame career. More significantly, it examines the long fight to overcome racism in sports and our culture at large, a fight that is far from over."
"That year, Jackie Robinson was playing with the minor league Montreal Royals. The next season, Jackie made his major-league debut with the Dodgers. He was voted Rookie of the Year. But he faced terrible racism. Opposing players and spectators alike screamed insults. There were threats made against him and his family.
The world can be a mess when it's changing.
But it had started to change.
Jackie opened the door. And Larry followed closely behind ..."
And something more: Audrey Vernick, in the Author's Note, explains that "When Larry, now a celebrated World Series hero, returned to Paterson, New Jersey, in 1948 to buy a home with [his wife] Helyn, residents of that all-white neighborhood started a petition to stop them. Ultimately, the mayor of Paterson stepped up to help. Larry and Helyn raised five children together.
In forging through very difficult circumstances, Larry helped clear the road for those behind him. 'If you can take the negatives and make them positive, then you're making it better for the next person who comes along,' he said."