Roy Campanella Wins His Second MVP, 1953!

Roy Campanella Wins His Second MVP, 1953!

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 1953: Roy Campanella Wins His Second MVP!

Sixty-four years ago today, November 27, 1953 Roy Campanella was named the National League MVP, his second of three awards (1951, ’53, and ’55). It was a great year for Campy, which included an historic start to the season…

On May 10, 1953 Roy 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 more than 40 RBIs in the first 30 games of the season, a feat that wouldn’t be matched for 44 years until Tino Martinez did it in 1997 with the Yankees.

And after that great start to the 1953 season, what a year Campy put together! It was the best of his three MVP seasons. He hit .312, with 103 runs, a league-leading 142 RBIs, 41 home runs, a .395 on-base percentage, and a .611 slugging average. His 154 OPS+ placed him well above average among his major league contemporaries (100 being the major league average).

In the featured photo above, we see Roy Campanella flicking away Billy Martin at home plate like he was a ragdoll. This is the final out in Game Four of the 1953 World Series.

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 the 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. In each of his three 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 ever. 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, then 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, their first in four tries against the Yankees.

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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Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from the Roy Campanella Wikipedia page.

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I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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