Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Roy Campanella as a Saint Paul Saints

I've seen Campy in a Brooklyn, Montreal and various other Negro League uniforms, but this is the first time I've seen him wearing the uniform of the American Association Saint Paul Saints. 

Featured above is an 1948 St. Paul Pioneer Press photograph of Hall of Fame catcher Roy Campanella, and it is currently on auction at Mile High Card Company (Link Here).  According to the listing it was printed in the St. Paul Pioneer Press that year when word got around that Campy had been promoted to Brooklyn. 

As you may know, Campanella started the year on the Dodgers in 1948, but was soon sent to Saint Paul.  While there he was reunited with his Nashua manager Walter Alston.

As the story goes, when Campy was first signed by Brooklyn in 1946 he, along with Don Newcombe, would begin their careers in Saint Paul, but management changed their minds.  The American Association was segregated and there was fear that they were not ready.  So, Campy and Newk were sent to the much friendlier Nashua Dodgers of New Hamphire.  Two years later, following the year Jackie Robinson crossed the color barrier, it was decided that Campanella would break ground in Saint Paul.  Per Joe Hennessy at the Saint Paul Pioneer Press (via a SABR story by Joel Rippel):
Never before has a Negro played in the American Association. Branch Rickey gave at least a hint that this move had been planned for some time when he watched the Saints in spring training at Fort Worth.
He shattered a precedent or two there by playing a Negro with the Dodgers against both Fort Worth and Dallas—the first time it had been tried in the state of Texas.

Afterwards he explained that any baseball man who would not make use of a good player, regardless of color, was just not showing good business judgment.
That season Campanella got into only 35 games for the Saints, and was very dominant.  He slashed .325/.432/.715/1.147 in 146 plate appearances, with 13 homes and 39 RBI's.

Check out Joel Rippel's story at SABR.org for more background on his time in Minnesota.  It is an excellent read.  (Link Here)

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...