Campy: The Two Lives of Roy Campanella

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(To hear Bill's conversation with author Neil Lanctot, click on the "listen" link above. Read Bill's notes on Campy below.)

Roy Campanella was a terrific catcher. He was fortunate to be surrounded by Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges, and the rest of the so-called "Boys of Summer." Campanella was named the National League's Most Valuable Player three times, and he was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1969, eleven years after he had slammed his car into a telephone pole and lost the use of his arms and legs.

In Campy, Neil Lanctot provides an exceptionally thorough record of Campanella's achievements…or at least a record as thorough as any account of what was going on in the Negro Leagues between 1937 and 1947 is likely to be. Campanella himself was aware of the difficulties record keepers faced on that circuit. "We had so many games that nobody kept track and we didn't have time to add it up," he recalled at one point. "Who could follow us? We didn’t even know where we were going."

Lanctot also provides a record of the personal difficulties - some of them self-imposed - that Campanella faced. This biography is full of stories that certainly do not appear in the cheery biographies of Campanella that have preceded the current volume…stories fans who prefer to continue viewing the catcher and his teammates through the rosy lens of nostalgia may wish to avoid.

This segment aired on March 12, 2011.

Bill Littlefield Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.



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