Born in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1921.
Played for the Baltimore Elite
Giants of the Negro Leagues from 1937 to 1942.
Made his Major League debut on
April 20, 1948, with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Played
with the Dodgers until 1957.
In 1953, he set single-season
records for catchers with 41 home runs and a
National League-best 142 RBI's. His home run
record lasted until 1996, when it was broken by
His career was ended by an auto accident
on January 28, 1958 that left him paralyzed from
the chest down. Although physical therapy
eventually allowed him to regain use of his arms
and hands, he was confined to a wheelchair for
the remainder of his life.
Left: Campanella watches a
Yankees game from the stands with his wife and
[His final major league game,
on September 29, 1957, was also the last major
league game ever played at Brooklyn's Ebbets
Campanella played in a total of
1,215 games, 1,183 of them as a catcher. He was a
member of five World Series teams (1949, 1952,
1953, 1955, 1956), and eight All-Star Team teams
(1949-1956). He led National League catchers in
putouts six times, hit 242 home runs as a
catcher, and was the National League MVP in 1951,
1953, and 1955.
In May 1959, the Dodgers (by
now located in Los Angeles) played an exhibition
game against the New York Yankees at the Coliseum
in his honor. The game's attendance of more than
93,000 remains the largest crowd ever to attend a
Major League Baseball Game.
Campanella was elected to the
Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969, becoming the
second player of African-American heritage to be
so honored, after Jackie Robinson.
On June 4, 1972, the Dodgers
retired his uniform number 39, alongside Jackie
Robinson's 42 and Sandy Koufax's
In 1978, he moved to California
and remained active in the Dodgers' Community
Relations department. He also served as a mentor
and adviser to young catchers in the Dodgers
Roy and Roxie Campanella
founded The Roy and Roxie Campanella Physical
Therapy Scholarship Foundation in 1991. The
foundation provides equipment, education,
information, and support for those living with
paraplegia, as well as scholarships to students
pursuing a degree in the field of physical
Roy Campanella died in Woodland
Hills, California, on June 26, 1993. He is
interred in the Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills
Cemetery, Los Angeles.
In 1999, Campanella was ranked
number 50 on The Sporting News' list of
the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was a
nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century
He was honored by a U.S.
postage stamp in 2006.
In September 2006, the Dodgers
announced creation of The Roy Campanella Award,
which will be awarded by the club's players and
coaches to the Dodger who best exemplifies
Campanella's spirt and leadership.
Roy Campanella had five
children with his first wife, Ruthe. He was
married to Roxie Doles from 1963 to his death;
the couple had no children. Roxie died in 2004.
Campanella was the author of It's
Good to be Alive, a book which details his
journey back from his car accident. The book was
made into a television movie by Michael Landon in
1974; Campanella was portrayed by Paul Winfield.
The Official Site of Roy Campanella
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