Cleveland Indians: The trade that brought Larry Doby home

Cleveland Indians Larry Doby (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians Larry Doby (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /

A cornerstone player from the Cleveland Indians’ World Series winning team was brought back to the club 10 years later on this day in Tribe history.

Larry Doby was a key cog in the Cleveland Indians’ team that won the 1948 World Series championship, not to mention his place as one the most historically significant figures in all of baseball.

Doby broke the American League’s color barrier just a few months after Jackie Robinson played his first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers in April of 1947. The next season, Doby hit .318 and belted a key home run in the Fall Classic to help the franchise win its second World Championship.

From there, Doby went on to appear in seven straight All-Star games from 1949-1955.

Cleveland traded him to the White Sox after the 1955 campaign, but on this day in history, Cleveland re-acquired the veteran in a trde with the Baltimore Orioles, March 31, 1958.

The Tribe shipped out Gene Woodling, Dick Williams and Bud Daley, to bring back the 34-year-old, in addition Don Ferrarese.

Doby played decently after the trade, batting .283. He also hit the final 13 home runs of his Hall-of-Fame career, while mostly a part-time player.

He’d continue to play after the ’58 season, playing 18 games with the Tigers and 21 games with the White Sox in 1959 before calling it a career.

Woodling, an outfielder who hailed from Akron, broke in with the Tribe in 1943, but then missed two years as he served for U.S. Navy during World War II.  His big-league career resumed with the Tribe in 1946 as he bounced between the big-leagues and the minors. He spent the ’47 season with the Pirates organization and didn’t even appear in a big-league game during the 1949 campaign.

Then, Woodling hit the jackpot, landing with the Yankees, where legendary manager Case Stengal would often platoon him in the outfield with Hank Bauer.  As as contributor with the Bronx Bombers, Wodling earned five World Series rings, as the Yankees won the title from 1949-1953.

Like Doby, Woodling found his way back to Cleveland as his career was on the back nine. That said, after the Indians traded him to Baltimore, he went on to earn his only All-Star nod, hitting .300 for 1959 season.

Williams put together a 13-year career, where he was versatile enough to play first, third and the outfield. He was a lifetime .260 hitter.

Daley didn’t play long for the Orioles, who flipped him to the Kansas City Athletics for  Arnie Portocarrero.

There’s a long list of players who’ve gone on to do great things after leaving Cleveland, and you’ll find Daley’s name there. He posted a 60-64 career record, but he made the All-Star team twice, winning a combined 32 games after leaving the north shore.

The other player the Indians received in the deal, Ferrarese, was a relief pitcher capable of starting. He was the starting pitcher 20 times in his two seasons with the Indians, as he went a combined 8-7.

dark. Next. 8 failed cornerstone player since the Shapiro era

Doby eventually finished his career elsewhere, and while he was ticketed for Cooperstown, few knew of the long, torturous future awaiting the Tribe. Cleveland won 89 games in 1959, finishing in second place, but the decades to come featured one of the most futile stretches in sports history.