Pride Against Prejudice: Showtime To Air “The Larry Doby Story”

By Off The BASN Sports Wire
Updated: January 30, 2007

LOS ANGELES — Legendary sports documentary filmmaker Bud Greenspan turns his lens on one of baseball history’s forgotten trailblazers with “Pride Against Prejudice: The Larry Doby Story”, narrated by Louis Gossett Jr., premiering Thursday, February 1st, at 9:30 pm PT/ET on SHOWTIME.

While Jackie Robinson “the first black to integrate Major League Baseball in 1947″ is a household name immortalized in sports pantheon of history, the stunning achievements of the second black player to do the same, Larry Doby, go largely unrecognized.

“This is an unknown black hero”, said Greenspan. “He dealt with the same adversity and prejudices in his life and career as Jackie Robinson. But being second, he has been overlooked by many of us for a long time.”

Greenspan, who has 50 sports films to his credit, was inspired to profile Doby’s life story by baseball historian Jerry Izenberg and Doby’s biographer Joseph Thomas Moore.

The 90-minute film examines Doby’s rich life story, detailing the pioneer’s career as a power-hitting centerfielder in a socially volatile America.

The landmark moment in Doby’s life came in 1947, when Cleveland Indians’ owner Bill Veeck brought Doby to the major leagues, just 11 weeks after Dodgers’ owner Branch Rickey brought Robinson to Brooklyn. In 12 major league seasons, from 1947 to 1959, Doby:

  • Was named to seven All-Star teams and played in two World Series
  • Led the American League in home runs (1952), and was the home run and RBI leader and runner-up to Yogi Berra for 1954′s MVP trophy
  • Held the top fielding average of full-time American League center-fielders (1954)
  • Set the Major League record of 164 errorless games in 1954 and ’55, a record that stood for 17 years

And later, in 1978, Doby became only the second black Major League manager when he led the Chicago White Sox for one season.

In 1994, the Indians retired Doby’s number and, in 1998, Doby earned long-overdue adulation with his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He died in 2003.

Doby’s life story is told in Greenspan’s trademark compelling and poignant style. The film features interviews with Robinson, Satchel Paige and others from the Negro Leagues including the late Larry Doby himself from an interview with former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent (2001); Yogi Berra, Jim “Mudcat” Grant, Ralph Kiner, Mike Veeck and Doby’s children.

The film is produced and directed by Greenspan and Cappy Productions, Inc., executive produced by Nancy Beffa and written by Andrew Squicciarini.