August 3, 2021

The Baseball 100: No. 94, Roy Campanella (The Athletic)

Starting in December and ending on Opening Day, we at The Athletic will count down the 100 greatest baseball players by publishing an essay on a player every day for 100 days. In all, this project will contain roughly as many words as “Moby Dick.” Yes, we know it’s nutty. We hope you enjoy. 

Roy Campanella was the sixth African-American player in the Major Leagues. He often gets skipped over when people tell the story of integration, but he was there at the beginning, when the fate of what Branch Rickey called “Baseball’s Grand Experiment” was still an open question.

Five African-American players had played in the big leagues in 1947. What few people tend to remember is that four of the five were, at that point, unsuccessful. Everyone knows that Jackie Robinson came into the league and was an immediate star. He won the Rookie of the Year Award. He led the Dodgers to the pennant. 

But Larry Doby, the first African-American player in…

Read “The Baseball 100: No. 94, Roy Campanella” at The Athletic