Born: November 19, 1921 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
MLB Debut: April 20, 1948 for the Brooklyn Dodgers
Last MLB Appearance: September 29, 1957 for the Brooklyn Dodgers
Number Retired: 39
Batting Average: .276
Home Runs: 242
Runs Batted In: 856
Hear this special audio segment highlighting Roy Campanella’s career:
Roy “Campy” Campanella is highly regarded as one of the greatest catchers in the history of baseball. He had a stellar 10 year career with the Dodgers from 1948-1957. Like Jackie Robinson, Campanella is thought of as one of the pioneers in breaking the color barrier.
A year after Jackie Robinson made his debut in 1947; Campanella appeared for the Dodgers in 1948. He had just as stellar of a career as well; playing in the all-star game every year from 1949-1956, which made him an 8 time all-star selection. He was named the National League MVP three times during his career in 1951, 1953, and 1955. The 1955 season, in which Roy won his third MVP, he helped catapult Brooklyn to their long-waited first World Series Championship.
After the 1957 season, the Dodgers relocated to Los Angeles, but not with Campanella. During the off-season, he operated and ran a liquor store outside harlem. While driving home one night, he skidded on a patch of ice, hit a telephone pole, and overturned. The accident left him paralyzed from his shoulders down until physical therapy eventually granted him access of his hands and arms.
Campanella was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969, just the second African American, the first was Jackie Robinson. On June 26, 1993 in Woodland Hills, California, Roy Campanella died of a heart attack.