Thіѕ Dаy In Dodgerѕ Hіѕtory: Roy Cаmраnellа Celebrаted In Front Of Reсord Crowd; Weѕ Pаrker Hіtѕ For Cyсle

The Dodgers moving from Brooklyn to Los Angeles for the start of the 1958 was marred by tragedy as Hall of Fame catcher Roy Campanella was in a serious accident in January of that year.

Campanella fractured two vertebrae in his neck, which were repaired in surgery but still left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. More than one year removed from his accident, the legendary catcher was honored on Roy Campanella Night on May 7, 1959.

A pregame ceremony celebrated Campanella’s achievements over 10 seasons playing for Brooklyn and his courageousness off it. The Dodgers arranged for Campanella to be recognized during an exhibition game with the New York Yankees at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as a means to lessen the costs of his medical care.

Campanella received an estimated $60,000 in aid from the Dodgers’ gate receipts. In addition to a pregame ceremony, Campanella was honored between the fifth and sixth innings when Pee Wee Reese rolled him onto the field.

The Coliseum turned off its lights and asked fans to provide ambient lighting with matches and cigarette lighters. The game drew a record attendance of 93,103, and the sentimental moment was later depicted by the Dodgers as a bobblehead giveaway during the 2014 season.

The Yankees got to Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers bullpen for a 6-2 victory, but the result of the game carried little to no significance.

Campanella was a three-time MVP and eight-time All-Star during his career with Brooklyn. The automobile accident unfortunately prevented him from ever playing for the team in Los Angeles and being part of the 1959 club that won the World Series.

Campanella had his No. 39 jersey retired by the Dodgers — along with Sandy Koufax and Jackie Robinson — during a pregame ceremony at Dodger Stadium on June 4, 1972. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 and passed away at the age of 71 in 1993.

The Dodgers continue to honor Campanella by annually presenting the Roy Campanella Award to the franchise’s player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the catcher.

Roy Campanella Award winners

Rafael Furcal received the inaugural Roy Campanella Award in 2006. The group of winners includes Russell Martin (2007), James Loney (2008), Juan Pierre (2009), Jamey Carroll (2010), Matt Kemp (2011), A.J. Ellis (2012), Kershaw (2013, 2014), Zack Greinke (2015), Utley (2016, 2018), Justin Turner (2017, 2019, 2020), Chris Taylor (2021) and Freddie Freeman (2022).

L.A. Dodgers cycle

Also on this day in Dodgers history, Wes Parker hit for the cycle against the New York Mets in 1970. Parker was the first player in L.A. Dodgers franchise history to accomplish the feat.

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