Lawrence Joseph “Larry” Doyle
Born: July 31, 1886 - Caseyville, IL
Died: March 1, 1974 - Saranac Lake, NY
Career BA: .290
New York Giants NL (1907–1916, 1918–1920)
Chicago Cubs NL (1916–1917)
One of the best second basemen of the era, “Laughing Larry” Doyle could do it all. Known for his outgoing personality and happy disposition, he was well-liked by manager John McGraw and his Giants teammates. The former coal miner was no standout when he first arrived in the Major Leagues, but McGraw stood by his highly paid rookie, giving him the opportunity to develop into an outstanding player.
Doyle eventually became captain of the Giants and one of baseball’s biggest stars, leading the National League in several offensive and defensive categories. Besides being on three pennant winners as team captain, he led the National League with 172 hits in 1909 and 25 triples in 1911. Doyle’s 184 hits and .330 batting average earned him the Chalmers Award (National League MVP) in 1912, and his trophy was a brand new Chalmers automobile. He won the batting title in 1915 with a sparkling .320 average, and led the league in hits, singles and doubles as well that year. At the height of his career, the second sacker was paid a salary of $8,000 which was almost as much earned by his famous roommate, Christy Mathewson.
A shrewd businessman, Doyle dabbled in the stock market and in real estate, and did quite well for himself. In 1913 Doyle turned down a $27,000 contract from the Federal League out of loyalty to the National League. He was one of those players who did everything right. Doyle finished out his career as player-manager in the minors and retired in 1922. After his playing days, he worked in various capacities for the Giants. His coal-mining background and heavy smoking caught up with Doyle in 1942 when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He was treated at Saranac Lake, the same sanitarium that treated Christy Mathewson. Laughing Larry had the last laugh though. He fully recovered and lived to be 87 years old, even outliving the sanitarium. Larry Doyle was one heck of a player and surely warrants another look by Cooperstown.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html