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Roy Campanella’s Great 1953 Start: 40 RBI in First 30 Games!
On May 10, 1953, Roy Campanella hit a double and a home run in a game against the Phillies at Ebbets Field. With those two hits, Campy drove in all five runs in the Dodgers’ 5-0 victory. The five tallies gave him over 40 RBIs in the first 30 games of the season, a feat that wouldn’t be matched for forty-four years until Tino Martinez did it in 1997 with the Yankees.
And after that great start, what a year Campy put together in 1953! He posted a .312 average, with 162 hits, 103 runs, a league-leading 142 RBIs, 41 home runs, a .395 on-base percentage, and a .611 slugging average, and was the 1953 MVP. His 154 OPS+ was well above average among his contemporary major leaguers (100 being the major league average).
Campy played in his first game on April 20, 1948, a year after Jackie Robinson broke the major league color barrier. Over his 10-career, all with th3e Brooklyn Dodgers (1948-’58) which was unfortunately cut short by his debilitating auto accident, the eight-time All-Star hit .276, with 1167 hits, 627 runs, 856 RBI’s, 242 home runs, a.360 on-base percentage, and a .500 slugging average. Campy was a three-time MVP award winner (1951, ’53, and ’55). In each of his MVP seasons, he batted more than .300, hit more than 30 home runs and had more than 100 runs batted in.
His 1949 All-Star selection made him one of the first four African-Americans honored, along with Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe and Larry Doby. He played in every All-Star game from 1949-’56. In 1950, he hit home runs in five straight games. Campanella caught three no-hitters during his career: Carl Erskine‘s two on June 19, 1952 and May 12, 1956, and Sal Maglie‘s on September 25, 1956. Defensively, he was one of the best. During his career, he threw out 57% of potential base stealers, the highest percentage by any catcher in major league history.
In 1955 he helped Brooklyn win its first-ever World Series championship. After the Dodgers lost the first two games of the series to the Yankees, Campanella hit a two-out, two-run home run in the first inning of Game Three. The Dodgers won that game, got another home run from Campanella in a Game Four victory that tied the series. They went on to win the series in seven games.
After he retired as a player, Campanella held positions in scouting and community relations with the Dodgers. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969. On June 4, 1972, the Dodgers retired Campanella’s uniform number 39 alongside Jackie Robinson‘s number 42 and Sandy Koufax‘s number 32.
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Photo Credits: All from Google search
Information: Excerpts edited from the Roy Campanella Wikipedia page.
Statistics from Baseball-Reference.com