A successful catcher is defined by his ability to handle the pitching staff, throw out would-be stealers, and keep errant throws and pitches in front of him. Roy Campanella possessed all these skills in addition to being one of the best hitting catchers of all-time. The man they called "Campy" was the complete package, leading National League catchers in putouts six times, and clubbing 242 home runs in his 10-year Major League career. From 1948-1957, Roy Campanella was securely anchored behind home plate for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He caught in five World Series, won the NL Most Valuable Player award in 1951, 1953 and 1955, and was the first black catcher in Major League Baseball history.
Of all the players Walter Alston’s granddaughter Kim Ogle got to know growing up in the Dodgers family, her strongest bond was formed with Roy Campanella. Stoutly built in her youth, Kim favored the catcher position as a player herself. Her physical traits, style of play, and affection for her Dodgers hero earned her the nickname “Little Campy”. Big Campy, knowing Kim from his many visits to the Alston home in Oxford, Ohio as well as her presence in the dugout and on the field as Grandpa would allow, returned her affection. As a token of that affection Campanella presented his young admirer with his glove, offered here, and his full set of catchers gear, offered in the following lot.
Sadly, Roy Campanella’s playing career ended in 1958 when he was paralyzed in an automobile accident. Campanella, however, remained involved with the Dodgers. In January, 1959 the Dodgers named him assistant supervisor of scouting for the eastern part of the United States and special coach at the team's annual spring training camp in Vero Beach, Florida, serving each year as a mentor and coach to young catchers in the Dodger organization. It was during a visit to spring training in 1959 that Kim was presented these items from Campanella directly.
This incredible Roy Campanella catcher’s gear ensemble includes Campy’s mask, chest protector, and pair of shin guards. All of the items are well used, including some post-Campanella use attributed to Kim. The padding of the metal caged mask shows some surface deterioration and a couple of holes in the leather. The straps are original and intact but show fraying. The Rawlings Walker Cooper De Luxe model chest protector has some spots of staining on the orange padding, and a few straps have broken away from their stitched joints. The Spalding shin guards are structurally sound, but well-worn throughout. Although we were unable to photo match these items, this fabulous ensemble comes with irrefutable direct player provenance.
Includes a LOA from the Alston Family.