Campanella played 8 seasons in the National Negro League before embarking on his career with the Dodgers
Roy Campanella played eight seasons in the Negro Leagues before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. According to Baseball Reference, Campy hit .322 in the National Negro League. Campanella followed Robinson to the Dodgers, debuting in 1948 at age 26. The backstop played the next ten years in
Campanella followed Robinson to the Dodgers, debuting in 1948 at age 26. The backstop played the next ten years in Brooklyn.
He quickly became a key player on a team that won five pennants while he was there. In his second season Campanella began a streak of 8 straight All Star appearances.
In each of his first 6 years and 7 of his first 8, Campanella garnered votes in MVP balloting. Catchers dominated the award in the 1950s with Yogi Berra and Campy each earning it three times from 1951-1955.
The crowing moment of Campy’s career came in 1955, his final MVP campaign. That season hit .318, clubbed 37 homers and drove in 107 runs. He also led a pitching staff anchored by Don Newcombe, the first former Negro Leaguer to reach the 20-win plateau.
The Dodgers won the NL by 13 1/2 games over the Milwaukee Braves. Facing the dreaded Yankees who had beaten them in Brooklyn’s last 5 World Series, the Dodgers broke through and won their only title in New York.
The team’s last season in Brooklyn came in 1957. In the off season Campanella was paralyzed in a car accident. The Dodgers honored him for the rest of his life.
The Dodgers kept him on the payroll as a special instructor for spring training while he continued to live in Brooklyn. In 1969 Campanella was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Three years later the Dodgers retired his number and the jerseys of Robinson, and Sandy Koufax.
Campanella moved to Los Angeles in 1978 and worked in the Dodgers community relations department. He remained a fixture in the press box and around the stadium until his death in 1993.
In the collection is this photo signed during his playing career.