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Doggett was born in Moberly, Missouri and began his announcing career at KFRO in Longview, Texas. In 1941, he moved to WRR before it became an FM station in Dallas to begin a 15-year career as the play-by-play baseball announcer for the Dallas Rebels of the Texas League. He also called major-league games for the Liberty Broadcasting System as well as Southern Methodist University basketball and Southwest Conference college football through the 1940s and early '50s.
In 1956, Walter O'Malley wrote a letter to another radio owner about Doggett's qualifications before hiring him for the Dodgers. During his 32-year career broadcasting for the Dodgers, Doggett played second banana to Vin Scully, who had been broadcasting Dodgers games since 1950.
The character of John Doggett on the television series The X-Files was named in homage of Jerry Doggett; the show's creator, Chris Carter, is a Dodgers fan and had previously named the show's Dana Scully character for Vin Scully.