The reverse side of the Congressional Gold Medal awarded posthumously Wednesday to World War II Navy veteran and Baseball Hall of Fame center fielder Larry Doby depicts the moment in a sweaty World Series locker room 75 years ago when a photograph was snapped of a Black player and a white one embracing cheek-to-cheek in the sheer joy of a victory that transcended baseball.
Under the depiction of Doby and Cleveland Indians right-handed pitcher Steve Gromek embracing, there is an inscription chosen by Doby's family: “We are stronger together as a team, as a nation, as a world,” which was his credo in life after taking on the task of becoming the first African American player in the American League.
That October day in 1948, Gromek had just outdueled Boston Braves righthander and 24-game winner Johnny Sain 2-1 to put Cleveland up three games to one in the World Series. The difference in the game was the rifle shot of a 425-foot homer by Doby, the first home run by a Black player in any World Series. Cleveland would go on to win the series four games to two — the last time that the Cleveland team, now renamed the Guardians, would take the World Series title.
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The photograph of the Doby-Gromek embrace by the Cleveland Plain Dealer was distributed by The Associated Press and electrified the nation. ”That picture of Gromek and…