WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) - The Boston Red Sox announced Tuesday morning that Hall of Fame second baseman Bobby Doerr, who was the oldest living major league baseball player, died Monday at the age of 99.
Doerr, a nine-time All-Star, is the only member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame who lived to be 99.
"Bobby Doerr was part of an era of baseball giants and still stood out as one himself," Red Sox owner John Henry said in a statement. "And even with his Hall of Fame achievements at second base, his character and personality outshined it all. He will be missed."
Born in Los Angeles in 1918, Doerr first played professionally in the Pacific Coast League, where he met future teammate — and fellow Hall of Famer — Ted Williams. Doerr broke into the majors in 1937 at 19, hitting leadoff on opening day for the Red Sox, and went on to spend the entirety of his 14-season career with the club.
Described by Williams as “the silent captain” of the Red Sox during the era, Doerr was a career .288 hitter and finished with 2,042 hits and 1,247 RBIs.
He once held the American League record for consecutive chances at second base without an error (414). And he remains the only Red Sox player to hit for the cycle twice, achieving the feat in 1944 and 1947.
Doerr, who missed the 1945 season due to military service, retired in 1951 at age 33 due to a back injury.
The longtime Oregon resident later worked for the Red Sox as a first-base coach, hitting instructor and scout — and remained friends with Williams long after their respective playing careers ended.
"Ted somehow understood that he needed Bobby's calm, and he seized on his friend's maturity and took comfort in it from the start," author David Halberstam wrote in his book, "The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship."
Doerr was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the veterans committee in 1986, and his jersey (No. 1) was retired by the Red Sox two years later.
He was one of several former players to receive a World Series ring from the organization after it ended an 86-year championship drought in 2004.
Doerr died in Junction City, Ore., and is survived by his son, Don, Don's wife, two grandchildren and their spouses and four great-grandchildren.
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