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Greenburgh Catches Fame: The Story of Legendary Brooklyn Dodger Roy Campanella
By: Riley Wentzler & Felicia Barber
Greenburgh has been home to many famous people throughout the years, several of whom have been African-American including: Jazz singer Cab Calloway, Comedian “Moms” Mabley, Jazz pianist Hazel Scott, and photographer Gordon Parks. History is full of milestones and the birth of each of these people certainly qualifies as such. To read the stories of these people check out our article, Making Martin Luther King Jr’s Dream Come Alive the Success Story of the Parkway Homes/ Parkway Gardens Community (Click here - https://www.greenburghny.com/DocumentCenter/View/6377/Making-Martin-Luther-King-Jrs-Dream-Come-Alive-the-Success-Story-of-the-Parkway-Homes-Parkway-Gardens-Community).
Today, November 19th 2021, marks a milestone in: Baseball History, African-American History, and American History in general, the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary Brooklyn Dodger and Greenburgh resident, Roy Campanella!! Therefore, it is only fitting that we now take the time to celebrate his life and accomplishments.
Roy Campanella was born on November 19th, 1921 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (https://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=camparo01). At a very young age he played baseball for the all-black Nicetown Giants. Then in 1937, when he was 16, he was recruited by the Baltimore Elite Giants of the Negro National League. He played for them until 1946 (MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation).
In 1948, he began playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers https://www.britannica.com/biography/Roy-Campanella).This made him the sixth African-American ever to play Major-League Baseball (MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation). Sometime in the 1950s, he moved to the Fair View section of Greenburgh in the vicinity of the Parkway Gardens/ Juniper Hill neighborhoods (https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a38004821/parkway-gardens-history-middle-class-black-families/)
In 1951, he hit 33 home runs and drove in 108 runs, a feat which won him the National League’s MVP award(MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation) An award he would win again in 1953, when he hit 41 home runs and led the National League with 142 runs batted in and once more in 1955 (MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation ). While his batting average fluctuated over his ten-year career,( see table below)
he is best known as a catcher. Some say he is, “the best catcher of all time” (https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/a38004821/parkway-gardens-history-middle-class-black-families/)
He would continue to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers until 1958, when sadly and abruptly, a car accident left him paralyzed thus ending his career (MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation).
He was admitted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969, making him the second African-American player to receive this honor(MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation).
He passed away on June 26th 1993 (https://www.baseball-almanac.com/deaths/roy_campanella_obituary.shtml).
In conclusion, many famous people have lived in Greenburgh. Several of these have been African-Americans including: Jazz singer Cab Calloway, Comedian “Moms” Mabley, Jazz pianist Hazel Scott, photographer Gordon Parks, and Brooklyn Dodger Roy Campanella. While the birthday of each of these people is a historical milestone, since Roy Campanella’s is today, we honor him this week.
Previous Slices of History include:
About the Authors:
We are both Assistant Town Historians at Greenburgh Town Hall and we are engaged to be married and are currently looking for permanent employment.
I was born and raised in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania. In high school, I took every honors course available including four years of Spanish. I received A’s in all of them. I graduated third in my class of 146 students. This brought me to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Once there, I continued my trend of academic excellence. I graduated summa cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a Master’s in Communication Studies, with a G.P.A of 3.94. It was also there that I met my lovely fiancée, Felicia Barber. My Master’s in Communication has promoted public speaking, teamwork, and customer service. My Political Science degree has developed my research skills using computer-based tools and provided me with experience using the Microsoft Office products. My minor in Spanish has facilitated my bilingual capabilities. During my internship at Greenburgh, I created the petition for the State Roads project using website tools. My diverse education and areas of interest have provided me with a wide range of skills. I look forward to finding a career opportunity in business or government. To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at email@example.com, or to help me find employment, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. I graduated from Ardsley High School. I recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was here that I met my fiancé, Riley Wentzler. As a result of my academic excellence, I won a scholarship every year. I learned and applied many graphic design skills to projects during my summer internships and at school. I am proficient in using Adobe graphic design applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For my Identity/branding course at Edinboro, I created logos to appear on the tee-shirts of Physical Education majors. For a veteran’s upcoming event, I used a typeface to focus the reader to the soldier in the poster. For the State Roads Legislative Campaign project, I created the embedded graphic-photo that accompanied the petition I am looking for a job to utilize my skills as a Graphic Designer in an agency, print shop, company or government To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at email@example.com. To learn more about my artwork or to help me find employment you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two Interviews with the authors:
Baseball Almanac, In. (1999-2021, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). Roy Campanella Obituary. Retrieved from Baseball Almanac: https://www.baseball-almanac.com/deaths/roy_campanella_obituary.shtml
Baseball Almanac, In. (1999-2021, (NOT GIVEN) (NOT GIVEN)). Roy Campanella Stats. Retrieved from Baseball Almanac: https://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=camparo01
Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopedia (2021, November 15). Roy Campanella. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Roy-Campanella
Ford, T. C. (2021, October 29). The History of Parkway Gardens, a Bucolic Haven for Middle-Class Black Families. Town &Country Magazine, p. Online.
Microsoft Corporation. (1993-2003, (Not Given) (Not Given)). Encarta Encyclopedia. Redmond , Washington, United States of America.