'They were our heroes': Fans react to passing of Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr at age 99

FILE - In this May 14, 1942, file photo, Boston Red Sox left fielder Ted Williams, left, tests the arm of Red Sox second baseman Bobby Doerr before their game against the White Sox, in Chicago. Doerr, a Hall of Fame second baseman who was dubbed the "silent captain" by longtime Red Sox teammate and life-long friend Ted Williams, has died. He was 99. (AP Photo/File)

EUGENE, Ore. - Bobby Doerr was one of baseball's giants.

"I was very sad. It's like taking a chunk of your heart out," Ron Knight said.

Knight had just heard the news of Doerr's passing when we spoke to him on Bobby Doerr Way in Eugene, a residential street in West Eugene.

"Me and my friends when I was in grammar school and junior high, we used to watch him play baseball," Knight said. "We used to like Duke Snider and all those. They were our heroes."

"I was young. I mainly read about him more than anything as a young boy," Gary Powell said. "I had a little home run book, "Home Run Kings" is what it was called, and wish I could have saw him play."

"Him and Duke Snider used to both go to the children's homes and orphanages and things like that and give the kids pep talks and keep them interested in ball," Knight said.

That's something Bobby continued in retirement in Junction City.

"Bobby helped start the Bobby Doerr Classic Little League Series here in Junction City to give a new legion of young people a chance to play baseball, learn the value of team work and excellence and hard practice and training," said Shannon Nill from Guaranty in Junction City. For years, Guaranty Chevrolet in Junction City threw a birthday party for Bobby.

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