Life and times of Roy Campanella

It has been just a couple of weeks after the 52nd anniversary of the terrible accident that left Roy Campanella bound to a wheel chair the rest of his life in January 28, 1958. He was the best catcher in Dodgers history and one of the best in the game.

Known as Campy by friends and teammates alike, Roy Campanella was born November 19th, 1921, in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania. As a ninth-grader he played with the Bachrach Giants, a semi-pro team in Philadelphia. That same year he to moved up to the Baltimore Elite Giants in the Negro League.

He would go on to play a short time the Mexican League with the Monterrey Sultans and by 1946 Campy finally made his debut in the Brooklyn Dodgers minor league system at Nashua, New Hampshire, along with pitcher Don Newcombe.

In 1948 he became the second African-American to play in the National League, Jackie Robinson having broken the color barrier the year before.

Campy's remarkable baseball career, and part of his life, came to a halt on January 28, 1958. As drove home from his business early in the morning, his car hit a patch of ice at a S-curve, skidded into a telephone pole and overturned, breaking Campanella's neck.

He fractured the fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae and compressed the spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed.

By the time his career ended abruptly Campanella had racked up an impressive assortment of stats including, an eight time All-Star selection (1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956), World Series champion (1955), three time National League MVP (1951, 1953, 1955), elected to the Major League Baseball and Mexican League Hall of Fame, and had his Dodgers #39 jersey retired after the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles from Brooklyn.

The Dodgers made him a assistant supervisor of the scouts and he went on to mentor the young catchers in the Dodgers organization and worked side by side with fromer teammate Don Newcombe.

Campy passed away on June 26th 1993 at age 71.

He has been the subject of many books and TV shows. He was the Mystery Guest on "What's My Line?" on September 6, 1953, and played himself in the Lassie episode "The Mascot," first broadcast September 27, 1959, in a story where he is coaching Timmy Martin's "Boys' League" team.

The United States Postal Service honored him in 2006 with a postage stamp.

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