Card: 1934 Goudey #91
Born and raised in San Francisco, Adolph Louis Camilli was a first baseman who spent most of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies and Brooklyn Dodgers.
Camilli toiled for eight years in the minor leagues before he made it to the major leagues with the Chicago Cubs at the tail end of the 1933 season. Skip Clayton and Jeff Moeller, authors of "50 Phabulous Phillies", rank the Phils trade of Dolph Camilli to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938 one of the worst ever made. The Phils got Eddie Morgan and $45,000 in return. The Dodgers got a good defensive first baseman, a solid hitter, and the National League’s Most Valuable Player of the 1941 season.
The acquisition of Dolph Camilli by the Dodgers was considered as the first building block in the recovery of the Dodgers, who had not won a pennant in 21 years. Before they won the 1941 National League flag, there was little fandom, the seats were crumbling and the ushers were surly and the team was a perennial second division club.
"Charlie Grimm was managing the Cubs at the time of the first [Camilli] trade. His general manager was Bill Walker; Warren Brown once wrote that the Cardinal pitcher, Bill Walker, 'is not to be confused with the Cubs' general manager, who is confused enough as it is.' Anyway, Walker traded Camilli to the Phillies without asking Grimm or even telling him about it.
A newsman called Grimm and asked him if it was true that the Cubs had traded Camilli. Grimm bought some time and called Bill Walker. 'I finally got in touch with his chauffeur,' wrote Grimm, 'who told me that the deal had indeed been made. I was furious that I hadn't been consulted, and every time in the next several years when Camilli smashed a homer for the Phillies or Dodgers, I muttered to myself that Bill Walker should have stayed in the fish business.'" - from the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
He was named the NL MVP in 1941 after leading the league in home runs and runs batted in, as the Dodgers won the pennant for the first time since 1920. A two time All-Star, Dolph held the Dodgers franchise record for career home runs from 1942 to 1953.
Following his playing career, Camilli returned to the Pacific Coast League and managed the Oaks and Sacramento Solons, as well as several other minor league teams, winning a pennant with Spokane in 1948. He later was a scout for the Yankees and California Angels before finishing his baseball career as a spring training instructor for the Angels. Camilli was inducted into the Dodgers Hall of Fame in 1984.
His son Doug was a major league catcher in the 1960s. His brother, who boxed under the name Frankie Campbell, died of a cerebral hemorrhage following a 1930 match with Max Baer, who hit him from behind as he walked to his corner.
Dolph is part of the Born in San Fran/Oakland/Sacramento Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Dolph is also part of the MVP/Cy Young Tour – Go To The Next Stop
Camilli is also part of the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Dolph is also part of the LA/Brooklyn Dodgers Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Dolph is also part of the Philadelphia Phillies Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Dolph is also part of the Chicago Cubs Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop
Dolph is also part of the Red Sox Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop
See all Dolph’s baseball cards at TCDB
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