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Baseball Pays Homage at Campanis Funeral

June 27, 1998|ROSS NEWHAN

Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax and an array of baseball luminaries attended funeral services in Fullerton on Friday for former Dodger general manager Al Campanis, who died of coronary disease Sunday at 81.

Tom Lasorda, the Dodgers' interim general manager who was hired as a scout by Campanis in 1961 and ultimately was elected to the Hall of Fame after managing the team for 20 years, delivered a eulogy in which he referred to Campanis' 1987 firing by the Dodgers for racially insensitive remarks on the television show "Nightline" and said:

"It's sad to think that Al leaves the world with an unjustifiable reputation. He never judged a player on the basis of color. The only thing he wanted to know was, 'can he play?' He dedicated his life to the Dodgers and did more for Latin and black players than anyone in baseball. I'll stand on that statement."

Campanis, who signed Koufax and Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente, among many other players, spent 44 years with the Dodgers as player, scout and front-office executive.

Among the baseball personalities who attended the services were Sparky Anderson, Buck Rodgers, Vin Scully, Rod Dedeaux, Fred Claire, Bill Russell, Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Bob Graziano, Bill and Peter Bavasi and Lee Lacy.

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