Dodgers Inaugurate Campanella Award

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that they have created the Roy Campanella Award, which will be given to the Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. Dodgers players and coaches will vote on the award and the winner will be honored during a pregame ceremony on Sept. 24.

"Roy Campanella was a winner in every sense of the word," said his former teammate and Dodgers director of community relations Don Newcombe, who will join members of the Campanella family in the ceremony honoring the inaugural Dodgers winner. "The things he taught me both on and off the field help set an example for generations of Dodgers to come and he would be overcome with joy in knowing that he was being honored in this manner."

Campanella was a three-time National League Most Valuable Player (1951, 1953, 1955), an eight-time All-Star and a member of the 1955 World Championship team. He played in five World Series and his 142 RBI in 1953 set a franchise record, since surpassed by Tommy Davis (153 in 1962). In 1,215 career games during a 10-year career, all with the Dodgers, he batted .276 with 242 home runs and 856 RBI.

He began his career in the Negro Leagues, establishing himself as one of the top catchers in the league before joining the Dodgers organization in 1946. Along with Newcombe, Campanella played for Class B Nashua of the New England League, making him the first catcher and that duo part of the first integrated affiliated baseball team in the United States.

On Jan. 29, 1958, just as the Dodgers were making final preparations for their move to Los Angeles, Campanella was involved in a tragic car accident that paralyzed him from the neck down, marking the end of his playing career. On May 7, 1959, a Major League record-setting 93,103 fans filled the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on "Roy Campanella Night" for an exhibition game between the Dodgers and Yankees.

He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 and was among the first three Dodgers to have their uniform numbers retired, alongside Robinson and Sandy Koufax. Campanella remained active in the Dodgers' Community Relations Department until his passing on June 26, 1993, at the age of 71.

Earlier this season, the United States Postal Service honored the late Dodgers catcher with a postage stamp as part of a four-player set, joining Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott and Hank Greenberg.

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