Campanella, Roy

Campanella, Roy
▪ 1994

      ("CAMPY"), U.S. baseball player (b. Nov. 19, 1921, Homestead, Pa.—d. June 26, 1993, Woodland Hills, Calif.), was a sensational catcher and home-run specialist for the Brooklyn Dodgers until his professional playing career ended in 1958 when he was paralyzed from the shoulders down after the car he was driving skidded into a telephone pole; he became, however, an inspirational spokesman for the handicapped, and he coached Los Angeles Dodger players during spring training from 1978 to 1993. Campanella played semiprofessional baseball on the Nicetown, Philadelphia, sandlots before signing with the Negro leagues at age 15. After joining the Dodgers in 1948 as the major leagues' second black player (Jackie Robinson was the first), he became one of the stars of one of the greatest teams in baseball, the storied "boys of summer," who captured five National League pennants between 1949 and 1956. Campanella was named the league's Most Valuable Player in 1951, 1953, and 1955, and he displayed his hitting prowess in 1953 by slamming 41 home runs and leading the league with 142 runs batted in. He published his memoirs, It's Good to Be Alive, in 1959. Campanella was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.

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▪ American athlete
born November 19, 1921, Homestead, Pennsylvania, U.S.
died June 26, 1993, Woodland Hills, near Los Angeles, California
 American baseball player, a professional National League catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, whose career was cut short as a result of an automobile accident.

      Campanella began playing semiprofessional baseball on the Philadelphia sandlots when he was 13, and at 15 he was signed to play in the Negro leagues (Negro league). (Campanella's father was of Italian descent, and his mother was African American.) Campanella's skills garnered the attention of Brooklyn Dodgers (Los Angeles Dodgers) general manager Branch Rickey (Rickey, Branch). Attempting to integrate major league baseball, Rickey signed players such as Jackie Robinson (Robinson, Jackie), Don Newcombe, and Campanella to the Dodgers franchise, and in 1946 Campanella began playing for a Dodgers farm team in Nashua, New Hampshire. Campanella moved up to the majors in 1948 and thereby became one of the first black players to break baseball's colour bar. He was the regular catcher for the Dodgers from 1949 until an automobile accident after the 1957 season left him paralyzed.

      During his playing career he was named the National League's Most Valuable Player three times (1951, 1953, and 1955) and was recognized as the best fielding catcher in the league in the 1950s. He was also known for his hitting and in 1953 led the league in runs batted in (142) and hit 41 home runs. He played in five World Series (1949, 1952–53, and 1955–56). His autobiography, It's Good to Be Alive, was published in 1959. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.

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Universalium. 2010.

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