Roy was a Dodger great, perhaps, the greatest of them all. He was a three-time MVP, an eight-time all star, and a Hall of Famer on and off the field. He was one of the greatest catchers to ever put on the shin guards and mask, and squat behind home plate, and when he was inducted into
Cooperstown in 1969, nobody was more deserving.
I was fortunate enough to play with Roy Campanella. He had one of the best baseball minds ever. His strategy was only bested by his hustle, and if it weren?t for his accident his accomplishments in our game would be unparalleled.
However, let?s get one thing straight: Because he was paralyzed did not mean his mind shut down. In fact, when I became the manager, I went to Roy and said, ?You can?t walk, but there is nothing wrong with your mind. I want you to be on my coaching staff.?
His eyes became as big as saucers.
When I introduced him to the team, I told them to listen to every word Roy said and to be like the wise old owl: The more he saw the less he spoke, the less he spoke the more he heard, and the more he heard the more he learned.
Roy mentored Joe Ferguson, Steve Yeager and Mike Scioscia. Look at how many years those guys played in the big leagues, look at their success.
Everybody talks about Jackie Robinson, and rightfully so. But
Roy Campanella also had a tremendous affect on the Dodgers, the country. He was a true role model, and never questioned why he was hurt.
He never complained, never questioned himself, or his circumstance. He persevered, and continued to devote himself to his country, his family and the Dodgers. His late wife, Roxy, once said something to me that brought a tear to me eye. She told me that when I asked Roy to be one of my coaches that it inspired him, and kept him going.
So as we pay homage to Roy, I want everyone to know what a great man he was, and how deserving he is of this stamp. He was a great man, a great patriot and truly one of the Boys of Summer.