(click the card to view the next player in the series)
Player: Campanella, Roy
Card: 1956 Topps #101
He was born Roy Campanella in Philadelphia to parents Ida, who was African American, and John Campanella, son of Sicilian immigrants. Roy played in the Negro leagues and Mexican League for 9 years before entering the minor leagues in 1946. He made his Major League debut in 1948 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, for whom he played until 1957.
Campanella received the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in the National League three times: in 1951, 1953, and 1955. He led the league in RBI in 1953 with 142. He also caught three no-hitters in his career. He was an NL All-Star for eight straight years: 1949 through 1956. He is one of only 16 major leaguers to catch three or more no-hitters.
His playing career ended when he was paralyzed in an automobile accident in January 1958. After he retired as a player as a result of the accident, Campy held positions in scouting and community relations with the Dodgers. After his accident, Campanella stayed in New York, continuing to operate his liquor store and hosting a radio sports program called “Campy’s Corner,” though he remained a part of the Dodgers family.
He worked in public relations, helped with scouting, and served as a special instructor and adviser at the club’s Vero Beach spring-training facility. In 1978 he moved to Los Angeles and took a job as assistant to the Dodgers’ director of community relations, Don Newcombe, his former teammate and longtime friend.
Before his accident the Dodgers had already approached Campanella about a future coaching or managing in the minor leagues after his career ended. He may have been the first black manager.
In his autobiography “It’s Good to Be Alive“, Roy reminisced about the happiest days of his life in Brooklyn: “That’s where I wanted to finish my playing career. I got my wish all right, but in a much different way.”
Roy was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969. View video of Campy homering in a World Series game here. Notice; no preening as he quickly rounds the bases. Like he’s done it before. Campy was mentioned in the Dave Frishberg Jazz song “Van Lingle Mungo“, and he also got a call out on Terry Cashman’s “Willie, Mickey and the Duke (Talkin’ Baseball)”
Roy is part of the Hall of Fame Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Campy is part of the Topps Card Tour – 1956 Topps – Go to the Next Stop
Campy is also part of the MVP/Cy Young Tour – Go To The Next Stop
Roy is also part of the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Campy is part of the All-Star Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Roy is also part of the LA/Brooklyn Dodgers Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See all of Campy’s baseball cards at TCDB
Visit a random Italian American MLB player: