Al Campanis was a General Manger of Los Angeles Dodgers, executive in Major League Baseball. Read on to know more about Al Campanis’s profile, childhood, life and timeline in this biography.
Alexander Sebastian Campanis who was popular from 1968 to 1987as the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers played with several minor baseball league teams, notably the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Montreal Royals. He was also part of the Major League Baseball as a second baseman for a brief period of time. Later he worked towards the building championship teams for the Dodgers as an executive and was fired on April 6, 1987 owing to controversial remarks he made on black people during an interview on ‘Nightline’.
Early Life & Career
Al Campanis was born on November 2, 1916 in Kos, a small island in the Dodecanese Islands. Campanis’ parents were Greek speaking who moved to New York when he was six. He graduated from the New York University in 1940, after which he began his career as a professional baseball player. He signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers following which he was directed to play with several ‘minor league’ teams. He went on to become a scout for the Dodgers and in due course became their scouting director. He is remembered for having discovered the talented Sandy Koufax, a left-handed pitcher, who became the youngest baseball player to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Campanis’ biggest achievement was when he moved the Brooklyn Dodgers team to Los Angeles which was named as Los Angeles Dodgers in 1958. It was then he was appointed as its general manager in 1968. Under Campanis’ period of influence the Dodgers reached the World Series four times.
The only ever blemish in Campanis’ career was the controversial comments he made during a TV interview with the ABC news channels’ late-night program, ‘Nightline’. The subject was on the presence few number of black managers and no blacks as general managers. To this Campanis’ reply was the blacks "may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or, perhaps, a general manager". This triggered a protest the next morning and two days later he was fired.
Al Campanis died on June 21, 1998 in Fullerton, Calif at the age of 81.
‘The Dodger Way to Play Baseball’ by Al Campanis and Tex Blaisdell
‘Play Ball with Roger the Dodger’ by Al Campanis and Syd Hoff
‘How to play Baseball’ by Al Campanis
Awards and Achievements
Campanis’ career as a major league player was brief but he became quite famous as the General Manager of the Dodgers team. He was responsible for the formation of the team Los Angeles Dodgers, which was known as Brooklyn Dodgers before, and under him the team went to the World Series four times 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1981.
Legacy and Contributions
When Al Campanis joined the Brooklyn League in 1940, which was after his graduation he was the only native-born Greek to play in major leagues. Then he became the a scout (evaluator) singing in successful players to into his team and later when he was appointed the General Manager of Dodgers, the team gave its best. He dedicated 46 years of his life to major league baseball and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Al Campanis, son James Alexander Campanis is a previous professional baseball player. He played in the major leagues primarily as a catcher from 1966 to 1970 and 1973.
Al Campinis played alongside the legendary Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player to play in the Major League Baseball.
It was Campanis who discovered the pitcher Sandy Koufax, during his term as a scout, who became the youngest player ever to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Campanis controversial remarks on a television interview brought a grinding halt to his career. In the late-night ABC news program ‘Nightline’, the anchor Ted Koppel asked him why there were a few black managers and no black general managers in major league. To this Campanis gave a quite racist answer that the blacks “lack the necessities’ for such positions. Somewhere in the middle of the interview he also said that the blacks are poor swimmers "because they don't have the buoyancy." The following day a protest broke out and Campanis was fired. Later on he apologized, but by then he had already resigned.
Despite all, Campanis was known to be a generous person.
1916: Al Campanis was born.
1940: He graduated from the New York University.
1943: He played for Brooklyn Dodgers as a second baseman.
1958: The Brooklyn Dodgers was brought to Los Angeles by Campanis, which was named Los Angeles Dodgers.
1968: He became the general manager of the Dodgers.
1987: His tenure as a general manager came to an end after some racially prejudiced remarks on the blacks in baseball.
1998: Campanis died on June 21.