Roy Campanella (November 19, 1921 – June 26, 1993), nicknamed "Campy", was an American baseball player, primarily as a catcher. The Philadelphia native played for the Negro Leagues and Mexican League for several seasons before entering the minor leagues in 1946. He made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut in 1948. His playing career ended when he was paralyzed in an automobile accident in January 1958.
Widely considered to be one of the greatest catchers in the history of the game, Campanella played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s and 1950s. After he retired as a player as a result of the accident, Campanella held positions in scouting and community relations with the Dodgers. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.
Campanella in 1961
|Born: November 19, 1921|
|Died: June 26, 1993 (aged 71)|
Woodland Hills, California
|April 20, 1948, for the Brooklyn Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 29, 1957, for the Brooklyn Dodgers|
|Runs batted in||856|
Major League Baseball
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
He was born Roy Campanella in Philadelphia to parents Ida, who was African American, and John Campanella, son of Sicilian immigrants. Roy was one of four children born to the couple. They first lived in Germantown, and then moved to Nicetown in North Philadelphia, where the children attended integrated schools. Because of their mixed race, he and his siblings were sometimes harassed by other children in school. But Campanella had athletic gifts that he used to great effect. He was elected captain of every sport team he played on in high school, but baseball was his passion.
Of mixed-race, Campanella was considered on the wrong side of the baseball color line and prohibited from MLB play. He dropped out of high school on his sixteenth birthday and began playing Negro league baseball in 1937 for the Washington Elite Giants. The Elite Giants moved to Baltimore the following year, and Campanella became a star player with the team.
Campanella moved into the Brooklyn Dodgers' minor league system in 1946 as the Dodger organization began preparations to break the MLB color barrier with Jackie Robinson. His easy-going personality and strong work ethic were credited with his being able to move successfully between the races. Although Branch Rickey considered hiring Campanella to break baseball's color barrier, Rickey ultimately decided upon Robinson.
For the 1946 season, Robinson was assigned to the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers' affiliate in the Class AAA International League. On March 18, 1946, Campanella signed a contract to play for Danville Dodgers of the Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League. After the general manager of the Danville Dodgers reported that he did not feel the league was ready for racial integration, the organization sent Campanella and pitcher Don Newcombe to the Nashua Dodgers of the Class B New England League, where the Dodgers felt the climate would be more tolerant. The Nashua team thus became the first professional baseball team of the 20th century to field a racially integrated lineup in the United States.
Campanella's 1946 season proceeded largely without racist incidents, and in one game Campanella assumed the managerial duties after manager Walter Alston was ejected. Campanella was the first African American to manage Caucasian players of an organized professional baseball team. Nashua was three runs down at the time Campanella took over. They came back to win, in part due to Campanella's decision to use Newcombe as a pinch hitter during the seventh inning; Newcombe hit a game-tying two-run home run.
Jackie Robinson's first season in the major leagues came in 1947, and Campanella began his MLB career with the Brooklyn Dodgers the following season, playing his first game on April 20, 1948. In later years, Robinson and his wife sometimes stayed with the Campanella family during some ballgames because adequate hotels for blacks could not be found in the city.
Campanella played in the All-Star Game every year from 1949 through 1956. With his 1949 All-Star selection, he was one of the first four African Americans so honored. (Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe and Larry Doby were also All-Stars in 1949.) In 1950 Campanella hit home runs in five straight games; the only other Dodgers to homer in five consecutive games are Shawn Green (2001), Matt Kemp (2010), Adrian Gonzalez (2014–15), and Joc Pederson (2015).
Campanella received the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in the National League three times: in 1951, 1953, and 1955. In each of his MVP seasons, he batted more than .300, hit more than 30 home runs, and had more than 100 runs batted in. His 142 RBI during 1953 exceeded the franchise record of 130, which had been held by Jack Fournier (1925) and Babe Herman (1930). Today it is the second most in franchise history, Tommy Davis breaking it with 153 RBI in 1962. That same year, Campanella hit 40 home runs in games in which he appeared as a catcher, a record that lasted until 1996, when it was exceeded by Todd Hundley. During his career, he threw out 57% of the base runners who tried to steal a base on him, the highest by any catcher in major league history.
In 1955 (Campanella's final MVP season), he helped Brooklyn win its first-ever World Series championship. After the Dodgers lost the first two games of the series to the Yankees, Campanella began Brooklyn's comeback by hitting a two-out, two-run home run in the first inning of Game 3. The Dodgers won that game, got another home run from Campanella in a Game 4 victory that tied the series, and then went on to claim the series in seven games when Johnny Podres shutout the Yankees 2-0 in Game 7.
After the 1957 season, the Brooklyn Dodgers relocated to Los Angeles and became the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Campanella's playing career came to an end as a result of an automobile accident. He never played a game for Los Angeles.
Campanella lived in Glen Cove, New York, on the North Shore of Long Island; he operated a liquor store in Harlem between regular-season games and during the off-season. After closing the store for the night on January 28, 1958, he began his drive home to Glen Cove. While he was traveling at about 30 mph (48 km/h), his rented 1957 Chevrolet sedan hit a patch of ice at an S-curve on Dosoris Lane near Apple Tree Lane in Glen Cove, skidded into a telephone pole, and overturned, breaking Campanella's neck. He fractured the fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae and compressed the spinal cord. The accident left Campanella paralyzed from the shoulders down. With physical therapy, he was eventually able to regain substantial use of his arms and hands. He was able to feed himself, shake hands, and gesture while speaking, but he required a wheelchair for mobility for the remainder of his life.
|Roy Campanella's number 39 was retired by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1972.|
After his playing career, Campanella remained involved with the Dodgers. In January 1959 the Dodgers named him assistant supervisor of scouting for the eastern part of the United States and special coach at the team's annual spring training camp in Vero Beach, Florida, serving each year as a mentor and coach to young catchers in the Dodger organization.
On May 7, 1959, the Dodgers, then playing their second season in Los Angeles, honored Campanella with Roy Campanella Night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The New York Yankees agreed to make a special visit to Los Angeles to play an exhibition game against the Dodgers for the occasion. The Yankees won the game, 6–2. The attendance at the game was 93,103, setting a record at that time for the largest crowd to attend a Major League Baseball game. The proceeds from the game went to defray Campanella's medical bills.
During 1969, Campanella was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the second player of black heritage so honored, after Jackie Robinson. The same year, he received the Bronze Medallion from the City of New York.
Campanella was elected to the Mexican Professional Baseball Hall Of Fame in 1971. On June 4, 1972, the Dodgers retired Campanella's uniform number 39 alongside Jackie Robinson's number 42 and Sandy Koufax's number 32.
Campanella was interviewed by Edward R. Murrow on the CBS program Person to Person on October 2, 1953 and again on January 2, 1959. Campanella also appeared as Mystery Guest on What's My Line? episode 171 on September 6, 1953 and as a guest celebrity on The Name's the Same (ABC-TV) on July 27, 1954. Campanella was also mentioned in the lyrics of the song "Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit that Ball?", written and recorded by Buddy Johnson in 1949 (and covered by Count Basie and his Orchestra that same year) and in the lyrics to the song "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel. Campanella was also honored on the famous Ralph Edwards show This Is Your Life. Campanella appeared as himself in the Lassie episode "The Mascot", first broadcast September 27, 1959, in a story where he is coaching Timmy Martin's "Boys' League" team.
Campanella was married three times. His first marriage, to Bernice Ray on January 3, 1939, ended in divorce. They had two daughters together.
On April 30, 1945, he married Ruthe Willis, who brought her son David to the marriage. They also had three children together (including a son, Roy Campanella II, who became a television director). Their marriage deteriorated after Campanella's accident and was never the same; they separated in 1960. Ruthe died of a heart attack at age 40 in January 1963. Campanella's adopted son David had a somewhat troubled life; he was arrested a number of times, developed a problem with drugs, and died at the age of 41.
On May 5, 1964, Campanella married Roxie Doles, who survived him.
|It's Good to Be Alive, speech by Roy Campanella at time 4:00-20:00, 1959, WNYC Archive|
The book Carl Erskine's Tales from the Dodgers Dugout: Extra Innings (2004) includes short stories from former Dodger pitcher Carl Erskine. He features Campanella in many of these stories.
Campanella wrote his autobiography, It's Good to Be Alive, which was published in 1959; he discussed his convalescence and partial recovery after his accident. Michael Landon directed a TV-movie based on the book, It's Good to Be Alive (1974), which was considerably fictionalized. Campanella was portrayed by Paul Winfield.
In September 2006, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced the creation of the Roy Campanella Award. The club's players and coaches vote on it annually, and is given to the Dodger who best exemplifies "Campy's" spirit and leadership. Shortstop Rafael Furcal was named the inaugural winner of the award.
Simon & Schuster published a 2011 biography of Campanella written by Neil Lanctot, author of Negro League Baseball – The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution. The book is entitled Campy – The Two Lives of Roy Campanella. The book reveals new details about Campanella's near-fatal car accident and his volatile relationship with Jackie Robinson. It also provides the most comprehensive look at Campanella's Negro League career, including newly compiled year-by-year statistics.
SpiritClips.com, a sub-division of Hallmark Channel, released "Roy Campanella Night", a 2013 short film documenting the period of paralysis and convalescence that preceded Roy Campanella receiving a public tribute on May 7, 1959 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The movie was directed by Chris Commons and stars Anthony Holiday, Tia Streaty and Nathan Wilson.
Often a cemetery that performs a cremation gets listed as the interment site. Thus Lee lists Roy Campanella as buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, although Campanella was only cremated there with his remains returned to the family.
Leo Durocher returned as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers to start the 1948 season but was fired in mid-season. He was replaced first by team coach Ray Blades and then by Burt Shotton, who had managed the team to the 1947 pennant. The Dodgers finished third in the National League after this tumultuous season.
The 1948 Dodgers were very much a work in progress, beginning to coalesce into the classic "Boys of Summer" teams of the 1950s. Gil Hodges was in the opening day lineup, but as a catcher. He would only be shifted to first base after the emergence of Roy Campanella. Jackie Robinson started the season at second base—Eddie Stanky had been traded just before the start of the season to make room for Robinson at his natural position; he had played first base during his 1947 rookie season. Pee Wee Reese was the only "Boys of summer" regular to already be ensconced at his position, shortstop. Billy Cox had been acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates during the offseason, but as one of nine players who would see time at third for the team that year, he only played 70 games at the position. Carl Furillo was already a regular, but in center field. Duke Snider was brought up to the team in mid-season, and it was not until 1949 that Furillo moved to right field and Snider became the regular center fielder.
Preacher Roe and Ralph Branca were in the starting rotation, but Carl Erskine only appeared in a handful of games, and Don Newcombe would not join the staff until the following year.1949 Brooklyn Dodgers season
The 1949 Brooklyn Dodgers held off the St. Louis Cardinals to win the National League title by one game. The Dodgers lost the World Series to the New York Yankees in five games.1949 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
The 1949 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 16th annual midseason exhibition game for Major League Baseball all-stars between the American League (AL) and the National League (NL). The AL continued its early dominance of the Midsummer Classic with an 11–7 win at Ebbets Field, home field of the NL's Brooklyn Dodgers. The win moved the AL's all-time record in the game to 12–4.
The 1949 All-Star Game was the first to have African-Americans in the line-up. Jackie Robinson of the Dodgers started for the NL at second base, while his teammates catcher Roy Campanella and pitcher Don Newcombe also played for the NL. Cleveland Indians' outfielder Larry Doby played the final four innings of the game for the AL.1949 World Series
The 1949 World Series featured the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers, with the Yankees winning in five games for their second defeat of the Dodgers in three years, and the twelfth championship in team history. This victory would start a record run of five consecutive World Series championships by the Yankees, and was also the first of 14 AL pennants in 16 years (1949–1964 except for 1954 and 1959) for the Yankees.
Both teams finished the regular season with exactly the same records and winning their respective leagues by exactly one game.1950 Brooklyn Dodgers season
The 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers struggled for much of the season, but still wound up pushing the Philadelphia Phillies to the last day of the season before falling two games short. Following the season, Branch Rickey was replaced as majority owner/team president by Walter O'Malley, who promptly fired manager Burt Shotton and replaced him with Chuck Dressen. Buzzie Bavasi was also hired as the team's first independent General Manager.
Vin Scully joined the Dodgers' radio and television crew as a play-by-play announcer in 1950; in 2016, Scully entered his 67th consecutive season with the club, the longest such tenure in the history of sports broadcasting, that season was the first wherein his voice, as well as of Red Barber's, was broadcast on television station WOR-TV, making the Dodgers the last New York City MLB team to introduce regular television broadcasts, 11 years following the first broadcasts of 1939.1951 Brooklyn Dodgers season
The 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers led the National League for much of the season, holding a 13-game lead as late as August. However, a late season swoon and a hot streak by the New York Giants led to a classic three-game playoff series. Bobby Thomson's dramatic ninth-inning home run off Dodger reliever Ralph Branca in the final game won the pennant for the Giants and was immortalized as the Shot Heard 'Round the World.1953 Brooklyn Dodgers season
The 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers repeated as National League champions by posting a 105–49 record, as of 2017, it is the best winning percentage in team history. However, the Dodgers again failed to win the World Series, losing in six games to the New York Yankees.1953 Major League Baseball season
The 1953 Major League Baseball season was contested from April 13 to October 12, 1953. It marked the first relocation of an MLB franchise in fifty years, as the Boston Braves moved their NL franchise to Milwaukee, where they would play their home games at the new County Stadium.
The New York Yankees won their fifth consecutive World Series championship. A MLB record, as of 2019.1955 Brooklyn Dodgers season
In 1955, the Brooklyn Dodgers finally fulfilled the promise of many previous Dodger teams. Although the club had won several pennants in the past, and had won as many as 105 games in 1953, it had never won a World Series. This team finished 13.5 games ahead in the National League pennant race, leading the league in both runs scored and fewest runs allowed. In the 1955 World Series, they finally beat their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees. It was the Dodgers first and only World Series championship won while located in Brooklyn.1955 World Series
The 1955 World Series matched the Brooklyn Dodgers against the New York Yankees, with the Dodgers winning the Series in seven games to capture their first championship in franchise history. It would be the only Series the Dodgers won while based in Brooklyn, as the team relocated to Los Angeles after the 1957 season. This was the fifth time in nine years that the Yankees and the Dodgers met in the World Series, with the Yankees having won in 1947, 1949, 1952, and 1953; the Yankees would also win in the 1956 rematch.
This Series also marked the end of a long period of invulnerability for the Yankees in World Series. It was the Yankees' first loss in a World Series since 1942 and only their second since 1926. While the Yankees were 15–2 in Series appearances during that time, they would lose again in 1957, 1960, 1963, and 1964, for a record of 4–5 in World Series over the next decade.1969 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1969 followed the system reintroduced in 1968.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted once by mail to select from recent major league players and
elected two, Roy Campanella and Stan Musial.
The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.
It selected two players, Stan Coveleski and Waite Hoyt.Clay Dalrymple
Clayton Errol Dalrymple (born December 3, 1936) is an American former professional baseball player. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies (1960–1968) and Baltimore Orioles (1969–1971). Dalrymple was known for his strong throwing arm and solid defensive skills. Over his career, he threw out 48.8% of the base runners who attempted a stolen base, second only to Roy Campanella on the all-time list.Ewell Blackwell
Ewell Blackwell (October 23, 1922 – October 29, 1996) was an American right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. Nicknamed "The Whip" for his sidearm, snap-delivery, Blackwell played for the Cincinnati Reds for most of his career (1942; 1946–1952). He also played with the New York Yankees (1952–1953) and finished his career with the Kansas City Athletics (1955).
The 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m), 195 lb (88 kg) Blackwell is considered to have been one of the greatest pitchers of his era, and starred in a six-year streak in the All-Star Game from 1946 through 1951. He was the winning pitcher of the 1950 All-Star Game, getting Joe DiMaggio to ground into a game-ending double play in the 14th inning.
On June 18, 1947, Blackwell pitched a 6–0 no-hitter against the Boston Braves. In his next start, June 22, against the Brooklyn Dodgers, he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning, trying to tie the achievement of his veteran Reds teammate Johnny Vander Meer from nine years earlier, of throwing consecutive no-hitters. However, the no-hit attempt was broken up by Eddie Stanky. The Reds won the game 4–0.
In a 10-season career, Blackwell posted an 82–78 record with 839 strikeouts and a 3.30 ERA in 1,321 innings pitched. In 1960, he was just the eighth player ever to be inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. During a 2007 New York Mets broadcast, Blackwell was referred to as the best right-handed pitcher ever by Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner. Both Kiner and Hall of Fame catcher Roy Campanella called Blackwell the toughest pitcher they ever faced. Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully also reported that batters were genuinely afraid to face him.
Blackwell's best year was 1947, when he recorded 22 wins against 8 losses, including 16 consecutive complete game victories for a weak-hitting team. At a slender 6 ft 6 inches, he was one of the first very tall pitchers, and a fearsome sight to hitters of that era. His bizarre sidearm delivery, described by a leading sports pundit as "looking like a man falling out of a tree", put unusual strain on his arm, abbreviating his success and, ultimately, his career. Along with arm problems, Blackwell had his right kidney removed in January 1949 after it became infected, and then had an emergency appendectomy in September 1950.In 1948, Ziff-Davis Publishing Company produced "The Secrets of Pitching, By Ewell Blackwell". It is a short book that gives good advice for young pitchers."List of Los Angeles Dodgers seasons
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the second most successful franchise in the National League and the third-most successful and second-most wealthy in Major League Baseball after the New York Yankees. The franchise was formerly based in Brooklyn and known originally as the "Grays" or "Trolley Dodgers" after the trams which supporters had to avoid to enter games. Later it became known successively as the "Bridegrooms", "Superbas", "Dodgers" and "Robins"; the present "Dodgers" was firmly established in 1932.
The franchise has won the World Series six times and lost a further 13, and like the Yankees and Cardinals have never lost 100 games in a season since World War I, with their worst record since then being in 1992 with 63 wins and their best records ever being in 1953 with 105 wins and both 1942 and 2017 with 104. Their most successful period, between 1947 and 1966 with ten World Series appearances and only two seasons with 71 or more losses (one of them the year they moved to Los Angeles after a dispute over stadium funding), was famous for the Dodgers becoming the first Major League Baseball team to incorporate African American players, led by Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella.Roy Campanella Award
The Roy Campanella Award is given annually to the Los Angeles Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame Brooklyn Dodger catcher, Roy Campanella. The award is voted on by all Los Angeles Dodgers uniformed personnel, players, and coaches. The award has been given out since 2006.Roy Campanella II
Roy Campanella II (born June 20, 1948) is a television director and producer.Roy Campanella Occupational Training Center
Roy Campanella Occupational Training Center, also known as Brooklyn Occupational Training Center, Roy Campanella OTC or simply the Roy Campanella School is a public high school located at 64 Avenue X, in Brooklyn, New York, USA, under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Education. The school can be reached by public transportation, including the D, F and N trains as well as the buses, B1, B4, and B82. The school serves students from kindergarten to 12th grade. The principal is Barbara Tremblay.Sabios de Vargas
The Sabios de Vargas baseball club became a founding member of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League in its inaugural season of 1946. The team represented the city of La Guaira, Vargas and played its home games at the now-extinct Estadio Cerveza Caracas.St. Paul Saints (1901–60)
The St. Paul Saints were a baseball team who represented St. Paul, Minnesota in the Western League from 1894 to 1899 and the American Association from 1902 to 1960. They originated as the Sioux City franchise in the Western League which reorganized itself in November, 1893, with Ban Johnson as President. Johnson, a Cincinnati-based reporter, had been recommended by his friend Charles Comiskey, former major league star with the St. Louis Browns in the 1880s, who was then managing the Cincinnati Reds. After the 1894 season, when Comiskey's contract with the Reds was up, he decided to take his chances at ownership. He bought the Sioux City team and transferred it to St. Paul, where it enjoyed some success over the next 5 seasons. The 1920, 1922, and 1923 Saints were recognized as being among the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time.In 1900 the Western League changed its name to the American League. It was still officially a minor league, a part of the National Agreement and an underling of the National League. The NL actually gave permission to the AL to put a team in Chicago, and on March 21, 1900, Comiskey moved his St. Paul club to the South Side, where they became the Chicago White Sox. In 1901, the AL declared itself a major league. In 1902, cast-aside Minneapolis joined St. Paul and other Midwestern cities to form a new minor league, the American Association.
Roy Campanella, Leo Durocher, Lefty Gomez and Duke Snider were among some future major leaguers who played for the Saints. Hall of Fame inductees who managed the St. Paul Saints were Walter Alston in 1948 and 1949, and Charles Comiskey from 1895 to 1899.
After decades of independence, the Saints became a farm club affiliate of the Chicago White Sox (1936–1942), the Brooklyn Dodgers (1944–1957), and the Los Angeles Dodgers (1958–1960). Their Minnesota rivals, the Minneapolis Millers, were during different periods the top minor league affiliate of the New York Giants and the Boston Red Sox.
The Saints played the first two years at the Dale and Aurora Grounds in St. Paul. The Saints also played from 1903 to 1909 at a downtown ballpark located on Robert Street between 12th and 13th Streets, and at the original Lexington Park at Lexington and University Avenue until 1913 when a fire damaged the structure. A new ballpark with a seating capacity of 10,000 was constructed in 1914 at University and Dunlap, which served as the home of the Saints through 1956. The Saints played their final four seasons at Midway Stadium, a modern ballpark located at 1000 North Snelling Avenue with a seating capacity of more than 13,000.
The two rival Twin Cities ball clubs played heated "streetcar double-headers" on holidays, playing one game in each city. Over the years 1902-60, the Saints compiled a 4719-4435 record, second only in winning percentage to the Millers' .524. The Saints won nine league pennants, and won the Little World Series championship in 1924, topping the Baltimore Orioles in ten games.
When the Minnesota Twins came to the Twin Cities in 1961, the Saints became the Omaha Dodgers.
A newer version of the team began play in 1993 and currently plays in the new American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.
Numerous famous baseball players, managers and coaches have appeared for the St. Paul Saints as players at some point in their careers. These players include:
Sandy Amoros (1951)
Ginger Beaumont (1911)
Joe Black (1951)
Ralph Branca (1945-1946)
Ben Chapman (1929)
Pat Collins (1925)
Roy Campanella (1948)
Chuck Dressen (1921-1924)
Leo Durocher (1927)
Lefty Gomez (1930)
Bubbles Hargrave (1918-1920, 1929)
Miller Huggins (1901-1903)
Mark Koenig (1921-1922, 1924-1925)
Clem Labine (1949-1952)
Gene Mauch (1946)
Chief Meyers (1908)
Cy Morgan (1906)
Johnny Murphy (1930-1931)
Duke Snider (1947)
Dick Williams (1954)
Don Zimmer (1953)