Roy Campanella is one of the most beloved Dodgers of all time. SpiritClips Originals has depicted the poignant moments after Campy’s tragic car accident which left him paralyzed and unable to continue his baseball career.
The Hall of Famer signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1946. After ten years in Brooklyn, Campanella’s Dodger career was sadly cut short. Roy Campanella Night does not focus on the catcher’s playing career, but instead on an emotional scene during physical therapy with Roy’s wife and teammate Pee Wee Reese. Reese encourages Campy during therapy much like he would have if playing on the baseball diamond.
The film concludes with the iconic and historic scene of Roy Campanella Night, one of baseball’s greatest moments. The touching moment in history happened on May 7, 1959 at the Dodgers and Yankees game played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It was the Dodgers second season since leaving Brooklyn for Los Angeles. The Yankees agreed to play a special exhibition game to mark the occasion and pay tribute to a baseball hero. The Yankees won, but the huge crowd of 93,103 set a record at the time for the largest crowd to ever attend a Major League Baseball game. The proceeds of the game would go to help pay for Roy Campanella’s extensive medical bills.
Roy Campanella won the M.V.P. award three times (1951, 1953, and 1955), he was an All-Star for eight consecutive seasons, and in 1953 the back stop hit a career best 41 homeruns with 142 RBIs. Number 39 was retired alongside Jackie Robinson‘s 42 and Sandy Koufax‘s 32 on June 4, 1972.
Check out SpiritClips from Hallmark for Roy Campanella Night and other baseball films. Here’s the trailer:
I’d love to see more films dedicated to the history of the Dodgers both in Brooklyn and in Los Angeles. The rich Dodgers history is packed with inspirational heroes who have impacted the American culture. Roy Campanella Night gives us a glimpse into the strength of Campanella and the bond he formed with Dodger fans.