Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr dies at 99

Before their game in Chicago against the White Sox, Ted Williams, left, Boston Red Sox left fielder, tests the right arm of Bobby Doerr, Boston second baseman, in Chicago, Ill., May 14, 1942. (AP Photo)

BOSTON (AP) — Bobby Doerr, a Hall of Fame second baseman who was dubbed the “Silent Captain” by longtime Boston Red Sox teammate and life-long friend Ted Williams, has died. He was 99.

A sweet-fielding, hard-hitting player, Doerr was signed on the same scouting trip that brought Williams to Fenway Park, where the latter established himself as one of the greatest hitters in baseball history.

Doerr played 14 seasons with the Red Sox from 1937 to 1951, posting a .288 career average with 2,042 hits, 223 home runs, and 1,247 RBIs. He had six 100-RBI seasons — an accomplishment that was not matched by another second baseman for 25 years.

Forced to retire by a bad back in 1951, Doerr lived out his retirement in Oregon. He returned to the Red Sox as a coach from 1967-69 and was a batting coach for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1980.

“Bobby’s life is one we salute not only for its longevity, but for its grace,” said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. “He set the standard for what it means to be a good teammate through abiding friendships with Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio, all while realizing legendary status on the diamond. He touched us all with his class and dignity, and will remain an example and an inspiration for generations of players to come.”

Doerr was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986, and the Red Sox retired his uniform number (1) in 1988. He is immortalized in the bronze “Teammates” statue outside Fenway Park alongside Williams, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky.