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  • Roy Campanella

    Can someone give me a cliff notes version of Campanella's career. I was just looking at his career stats and I'm wondering about his HOF election.

    I'm not necessarily questioning it; I'm just wondering if he's upper tier or down near the bottom.
    "I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day and I dream about it at night. The only time I don't think about it is when I'm playing it."
    Carl Yastrzemski

  • #2
    I consider him in the upper-middle. He was one of the first players to intergrate. In his 10 year career, he was an 8-time All-Star and 3-time MVP. 3 MVPs in a decade, from a catcher, is particularly impressive (though is AL counterpart on the Yankees accomplished the same feat during that period...kind of interesting). He had tremendous power as a catcher, topping 30 homeruns five times, 20 seven times, and 40 once. He was also pretty darn good defensively and very hard-nosed (i.e. he'd stand his ground and take the best other players could dish out). Plus, he was a team leader, despite his minority status, on those memorable and lovable Brooklyn teams of the 50s. His career was then cut short by an accident that left him paralyzing. In short, Campanella emcompassed a great deal into those 10 years of a career, and after going through this analysis myself, I've bumped Campanella up to 4th all-time as a catcher (I had him 5th behind Mickey Cochrane).

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    • #3
      Campanella had 242 home runs in just 10 seasons. He ranks 185th on the all-time list.

      He had one of the best throwing arm ever, maybe THE best. Look for Dave Smith's article from Retrosheet "Analysis of Catchers Catching Thieves 1958 to 2000" (http://members.tripod.com/bb_catcher...ves_smith.htm). Go straight to the conclusion. It tells you Roy threw out 57% of potential base-stealers in his career.

      During World Series, he threw out 11/21.

      Claude
      « But what's puzzlin' you is the nature of my game... »

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      • #4
        --Campy had some of the best offensive seasons ever by a catcher and was also a terrific defender. His peak value rivals anybody who ever caught a game in the majors. Even with the shortness of his career I think he is still a solid Hall of Famer. Based just on his major league career I'd put him towards the back end of my top 10 all time catchers. He did play some in the Negro Leagues as well, so where he ranks all time would depend on how much credit you give him for that (I don't give any injury credit).

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        • #5
          another consideration

          Campenella spent almost ten years in the Negro National League (he started as a 16 year old) prior to being signed by the Dodgers. So he had a strong background. There is a story about back in 1947 Campenella had been recently signed by the Dodgers and was assigned to a minor league team managed by Walt Alston. There came a day when Alston was tossed by the umpires for arguing a call. Alston's respect for Campenella was such he chose Campenella to take over as the manager for the day after he had been tossed by the umpire. Which doesn't sound like a big deal today but at a time of segregation it said volumes not only about Campenella but also about Alston.
          So to put his ten year in context, not only was Campenella held back from joining the Major Leagues through no fault of his own he of course suffered the horrific injury that cut short his career on the other end.
          Johnny
          Delusion, Life's Coping Mechanism

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          • #6
            --Campy was playing in the Negro Leagues at 16. Its safe to say he wouldn't have been a major leaguers at that age though. He wasn't even a great player immediately when he did make it. I think you can maybe give him credit for an additional 3-4 years of longevity tops.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by leecemark
              --Campy was playing in the Negro Leagues at 16. Its safe to say he wouldn't have been a major leaguers at that age though. He wasn't even a great player immediately when he did make it. I think you can maybe give him credit for an additional 3-4 years of longevity tops.
              I was wondering if he would have entered the majors 3-4 years earlier would that have shortened his career at the back end (assuming he didn't have the car accident)? Major league seasons were far longer than Negro league seasons so I was wondering if the extra wear and tear at catcher would have shortened that back end of his career.
              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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              • #8
                I would doubt it only because Negro Leaguers played all the time in order to make money. I wouldn't think Campy caught all the time, but he would have caught his share. If he could have gone to the majors, I think the change in his workload in those earlier years would have enabled him to age at least as well.

                Jim Albright
                Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
                Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
                A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by leecemark
                  --Campy was playing in the Negro Leagues at 16. Its safe to say he wouldn't have been a major leaguers at that age though. He wasn't even a great player immediately when he did make it. I think you can maybe give him credit for an additional 3-4 years of longevity tops.

                  I never thought he would have come in at 16 either, still to play professional ball at that age clearly shows that he was a prodigy of sorts. So, I would agree that we could be conservative and still give him credit for 3-4 years of solid production.
                  If memory serves,one thing that Campy had going against him towards the end of his career was that his hands were giving him trouble. But I will defer to one of our Brooklyn hands or other learned folks who may be able to weigh and support that or tell me I am all wet (I do reside in Seattle after all )
                  Johnny
                  Delusion, Life's Coping Mechanism

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                  • #10
                    --Campanella did have a hard injury that made it hard for him to grip a bat in his last couple seasons. He probably would have played a few more years if not for the car accident, but he was pretty much done as an elite player even if the accident hadn't happened. His last 2 years he posted OPS+ in the 80s.

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                    • #11
                      A rested Campy

                      Sure would have been interesting how he would have done in that truncated LA Colisium. Of course, we will never know.
                      Johnny
                      Delusion, Life's Coping Mechanism

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by leecemark
                        --Campanella did have a hard injury that made it hard for him to grip a bat in his last couple seasons. He probably would have played a few more years if not for the car accident, but he was pretty much done as an elite player even if the accident hadn't happened. His last 2 years he posted OPS+ in the 80s.
                        Capanella also had a pretty ineffective 1954 season. Three of his last four seasons weren't that great. He had a pretty short career for a HOFer.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wamby
                          Capanella also had a pretty ineffective 1954 season. Three of his last four seasons weren't that great. He had a pretty short career for a HOFer.
                          Short, but how many catchers had better 10 year stretches? And not just in terms of on the field production, but all-around, Campanella was a great contributor to very good and memorable teams. He was a leader, and a leader in the face of a great deal of hardship he personally had to face on account of his race.

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                          • #14
                            I never saw any difference between torre and Campanella, torre was very comparable to him and he did it longer.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dontworry
                              I never saw any difference between torre and Campanella, torre was very comparable to him and he did it longer.
                              Three reasons why Torre had a longer career:

                              1) Campanella didn't break into the majors until he was 26 because of segregation. Meaning he lost 4-6 years of ML experience.

                              2) Camapelle'a career was cut short on the other end by an accident which left him paralyzed.

                              3) Torre spent 8 of his last 9 years playing anywhere but catcher.

                              Now some reasons why Campanella is in a higher class than Torre:

                              1) Campanella actually caught 200 more games than Torre despite playing for 8 years less.

                              2) Campanella won 3 NL MVPs while playing catcher. Torre won 1 MVP, but did it as a 3Bman.

                              3) Torre was a good defensive catcher, but Campanella was great.

                              4) Campanella had almost 3,500 less ABs than Torre but had only 10 less homeruns.

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