This Day in Black History: Nov. 19, 1921

Brooklyn Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella was born in Philadelphia.

Posted: 11/19/2012 07:00 AM EST
Roy Campanella

Baseball legend Roy Campanella was born on Nov. 19, 1921, in Philadelphia. Campanella would go on to help break color barriers in Major League Baseball, becoming the first Black catcher in league history.

At 16, Campanella dropped out of high school to play for the Washington Elite Giants in the Negro National League. Campanella's father was of Italian descent and his mother was African-American, so like other Blacks, he was barred from playing in the majors until the 1947 season, the year Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. The following year, Campanella was hired by the Dodgers and anchored the team until 1957, the year he was paralyzed in a car accident.

He won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 1951, 1953 and 1955. In 1969, Campanella was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Campanella died of a heart attack on June 26, 1993. He was 71.

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(Photo: CBS /Landov)

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