WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH) Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) and U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced bills in each chamber of Congress to award Larry Doby with a Congressional Gold Medal. These bills seek to posthumously honor Larry Doby for his many achievements and contributions to American major league athletics, civil rights, and the Armed Forces.
“As another exciting year of Indians baseball begins, I am excited and honored to introduce legislation that would award Larry Doby the Congressional Gold Medal. Larry Doby joined the Major Leagues shortly after the great Jackie Robinson and faced the same struggles and barriers without the same recognition. I look forward to working with my colleagues in passing this legislation and further recognizing the incredible life and career of Larry Doby.”
Larry Doby served in the United States Navy, serving in the Pacific Theater of WWII. Following his service, Doby broke through racial barriers by becoming the first African-American to play professional baseball in the American League and the first African-American to play and hit a home run in a World Series as a player for the Cleveland Indians. Doby was also deeply committed to his community and served as the Director of Community Relations for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. This position granted him the opportunity to leverage his character and stature to influence youth in many of New Jersey’s inner cities.
Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. The Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom are generally considered to carry the same level of prestige. The chief difference between the two is that the Freedom Medal is personally awarded by the President of the United States, and Congressional Gold Medals are awarded by Acts of Congress.
Per committee rules, legislation bestowing a Congressional Gold Medal upon a recipient must be co-sponsored by two-thirds of the membership of both the House of Representatives and the Senate before their respective committees (the House Committee on Financial Services and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs) will consider it.