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Just as Good: How Larry Doby Changed America's Game    by Chris Crowe & Mike Benny order for
Just as Good
by Chris Crowe
Order:  USA  Can
Candlewick, 2012 (2012)
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Larry Doby is one of those athletes with whom probably only a few baseball trivia fans are familiar. As the second African-American player to cross the color line, Doby followed Jackie Robinson into major league baseball in 1947 when he joined the Cleveland Indians.

The first player to integrate the American League, Doby was signed just eleven weeks after Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Since his rookie season was rather disappointing, aside from the racist taunts he had to endure from fans, players and coaches, Doby was largely ignored. In his second season, though, Doby's 16 home runs and .301 batting average helped the Indians win their first World Series since 1920.

Focusing on the fourth game of the Cleveland-Boston World Series, this picture book uses a play-by-play narrative to replicate the events that led up to Doby launching one over the fence to hit the first home run of the series. The Indians hung on to win the game and papers the next day featured an unheard of and unimagined photo. The picture showed Steve Gromek hugging Larry Doby. That iconic photo, a white man and black man cheek to cheek, suggested that if these players could accept one another as equals, perhaps the rest of the country should too!

All but forgotten by most people, this story of the role Larry Doby played in breaking the race barrier in baseball is highlighted in this picture book.
Although I am not sure I care for this title (To me just suggests almost or nearly rather than equally), I do like the idea of introducing this fine athlete to a host of young baseball fans.

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