In the 1950s, on a team with Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, and Jackie Robinson, it was Campy who won three MVP awards. He was a superb catcher who hit the ball for both power and average; the roly-poly receiver was quick and agile behind the plate with a rifle throwing arm, and was the premier defensive catcher of his day. He was also known for his hitting and in 1953 led the league in runs batted in (142) and hit 41 home runs.
He played in five World Series (1949, 1952-53, 1955-56).
An expert handler of pitchers, he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1948-1957, setting a number of fielding and home run records for catchers until a tragic auto accident in 1958 ended his playing career.
Campanella began playing semiprofessional baseball on the Nicetown, Philadelphia, sandlots when he was 13, and at 15 he was signed to play in the Negro leagues. He joined the Dodgers in 1948 and was their regular catcher from 1949 until an automobile accident after the 1957 season. His autobiography, It's Good to Be Alive, was published in 1959. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.
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