Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Campanella / A Glimpse Into His Life

June 17, 1985|BOB OATES

Born: Nov. 19, 1921, in Nicetown, North Philadelphia, Pa.

First Job: Delivering milk for 25 cents a day.

Family: One of five children of an Italian immigrant and a black mother. His father was a fruit and vegetable peddler who later owned several grocery stores.

Career: Brooklyn Dodgers' catcher 1948-57.

Best Year: 1953--caught 144 of 154 Dodger games; 162 hits; batted .312; hit 41 home runs.

Busiest Day: Caught two doubleheaders in one day (Negro League record).

Historical Footnote: In 1949, Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby and Campanella were the first three black players in the All-Star Game. Campanella made the National League All-Star roster the next seven times.

Most Valuable Player (National League): 1951, 1953, 1955.

Hall of Fame: 1969.

Most Characteristic Quote: "You have to be a man to be a big league ballplayer, but you have to have a lot of little boy in you, too."

Children: By previous marriage--Roy II, Joni and John (now in California), Tony and Ruth (in New York).

Former New York Residence: On (J.P.) Morgan's Island, off Glen Cove, L.I.

New York Toys: An aquarium room full of tropical fish; a train room with 51 Lionel electric trains, and a 41-foot yacht (cabin cruiser).

New York and California Hobby: Growing roses.

Accident: Jan. 28, 1958. A team of seven surgeons, working four hours and 20 minutes at a Glen Cove hospital, saved him after he had been lifted out of the car with a broken neck.

Present Employer: Dodger President Peter O'Malley, Community Services Dept.

Married: Roxie Doles on May 4, 1961. Jim Murray, Times columnist: "The job she has done with Roy Campanella and family marks her the greatest relief pitcher of all time in my book."

Biggest Thrill: Campanella Night at the Coliseum on May 7, 1959, when baseball's all-time record crowd, 93,103, "honored me at an exhibition game (Dodgers-Yankees). As Pee Wee Reese was pushing my wheelchair out to the diamond, I pointed to the 93 on the scoreboard and told him, 'I finally made it. That's my uniform number turned backwards.' " The Dodgers have since retired Campanella's 39.

Biggest Regret: "I promised Mr. (Walter) O'Malley that I'd last until opening night in Dodger Stadium. I'm sorry to say I didn't."

Place in History: Branch Rickey on bringing Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella to the Dodgers in 1947-48, as quoted by Jules Tygiel, author of "Baseball's Great Experiment": "Integration in baseball started pubic integration on trains, in Pullmans, in dining cars, in restaurants in the South long before the issue of public accommodation became daily news."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|