23 September 2013

first mel harder, then larry doby

mel harder spent his entire career with the cleveland indians, from his debut in 1928 at the age of 18, to his final appearance in 1947 at the age of 37.  in between, he won 223 games for the tribe.  the team retired his number 18 in 1990, and after he died in october of 2002, the team wore a memorial patch in his honor the following season.

you can see the '18' patch on jhonny peralta's jersey on this 2004 donruss classics card
when they wore sleeves, the indians moved the patch to the right sleeve, as seen on josh bard's 2004 topps card
in june of 2003, while the team was mourning the loss of harder, former indian larry doby also passed away.  doby was the second african-american to play major league baseball, and the first to do so in the american league.  he debuted for the indians just a few months after jackie robinson broke the color barrier in april of 1947.  he spent 10 seasons with the indians, and helped them win the world series in 1948.  his number 14 was retired by the team in 1994, and he was elected to the hall of fame by the veteran's committee in 1998.

in his honor, the indians added a '14 doby' patch to their uniforms.  you can see it here on jhonny peralta's 2003 upper deck card
both the doby and harder patches are visible on coco crisp's 2004 topps card
and we get a closer look on casey blake's card from the same set
perhaps the best view of both patches comes courtesy of cc sabathia's 2004 playoff honors card - front
and back
or maybe this 2004 donruss card is better
the indians were not the first team to wear more than one memorial patch at the same time - i know the dodgers and the yankees have done so, too - and the yankees have done it more than once.

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