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Al Campanis

From BR Bullpen

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Alexander Sebastian Campanis
born Alessandro Campani

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Al Campanis played briefly in the majors and was a longtime General Manager but is perhaps best remembered for his insensitive racial comments during a television interview.

An infielder, Campanis was born in Greece, attended New York University, and began his playing career in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1940. He had a cup of coffee in the majors with the Dodgers in 1943, going 2-for-20 in 7 games, and thus became the only Greek-born major leaguer (through 2015). After a stint in the military during World War II, he was a teammate of Jackie Robinson with the Montreal Royals in 1946. He continued playing in the minors through 1948.

Campanis was Scouting Director of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1960 to 1968 and the team's GM from 1969 until 1987. He lost his job after making allegedly insensitive racial comments on the TV show Nightline, on a program dedicated to the 40th anniversary of Robinson's breaking of the color line. When asked by fellow guest Roger Kahn why there were so few African-American executives in the major leagues four decades after Robinson's debut, he replied that "I truly believe that they may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager." His response was seen as a perfect encapsulation of the barriers qualified African-Americans faced from the baseball establishment; his firing did have some positive effect, as it led Commissioner Peter Ueberroth to set up a program to promote more managers and other executives from minority backgrounds.

Campanis was the father of big leaguer Jim Campanis, His grandson, Jim Campanis, Jr., was a member of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team but never made it to the big leagues.

Preceded by
Fresco Thompson
Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager
Succeeded by
Fred Claire

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Playoffs Notes
1948 Nashua Dodgers New England League 84-41 2nd League Champs
1949 Lancaster (PA) Red Roses Interstate League 71-68 5th
1950 Newport News Dodgers Piedmont League -- -- replaced by Bud Metheny
1957 Montreal Royals International League 6-5 -- -- replaced Greg Mulleavy (19-35) on June 14
replaced by Al Ronning (2-2) on June 24

Further Reading[edit]

  • Richard L. Harris: "For Campanis, a night that lived in infamy", The Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2008. [1]

Related Sites[edit]