Dagoberto Campaneris Blanco
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 160 lb.
Nicknamed "Road Runner", speedy shortstop Bert Campaneris was a regular for the Kansas City Athletics and Oakland Athletics for more than a decade. He led the American League in stolen bases in six seasons, was a six-time All-Star, and was the first big leaguer to play all nine positions in a single game.
A cousin of Jose Cardenal, the Cuban-born Campaneris was signed by Kansas City scout Felix Delgado in 1961 for a mere $500. Originally a catcher, he was soon moved to the infield and quickly advanced through the minors. After hitting .325 for the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League in 1964, he was called up by the Athletics in July. In his big league debut on July 23rd, he hit a home run off Jim Kaat of the Minnesota Twins on the first pitch he saw. He added another homer off Kaat in the seventh inning to become the second player in history to hit two home runs in his first major league game.
In just his second season, Campaneris led the AL with 12 triples and 51 stolen bases. In a September 8th game that year against the California Angels, he became the first man in major league history to play all nine positions in a single game (a feat later matched by Cesar Tovar, Scott Sheldon, Shane Halter and Andrew Romine). He went 0 for 3 in the contest and gave up one earned run in one inning on the mound.
After leading the AL in steals with 52 in 1966, Campy again paced the circuit with 55 stolen bases in 1967. On August 29, 1967, he hit three triples in a game against the Cleveland Indians to tie a record. The A's moved to Oakland, California the next summer, and he paced the circuit in stolen bases for a fourth straight season, this time with a career-high 62. He also led the AL with 177 hits while earning a spot on the All-Star team for the first time in his career.
Campaneris once again paced the AL in steals with 42 in 1970, clubbing a career-best 22 home runs (he never reached double figures in any other season). The A's captured the first of five-straight AL West titles in 1971, and the following summer, Campy led the AL in stolen bases for the sixth and final time with 52. In the second game of the 1972 ALCS against the Detroit Tigers, he threw his bat at pitcher Lerrin LaGrow after being hit in the ankle with a pitch in an attempt at intimidation. He was suspended for the remainder of the ALCS but allowed to play in the World Series. He struggled at the plate, hitting just .179 and scoring a single run, but Oakland managed to capture a championship in seven games.
As a result of the previous year's playoff incident, Campaneris sat out the first seven games of the 1973 campaign. Nonetheless, his team again won a division title. In the ALCS versus the Baltimore Orioles, he hit a home run in Game 2 and then clubbed a game-winning 11th-inning homer in Game 3. He recorded nine hits, including a home run, against the New York Mets in the World Series and stole three bases as the A's repeated as World Champs. In the following year's Fall Classic, he hit .353 as Oakland made it three in a row. The next two seasons, his offensive output declined, but he still showed some speed, stealing five bases in a May 24, 1976 game against the Chicago White Sox.
Following the 1976 season, Campaneris became a free agent and signed with the Texas Rangers. He struggled offensively for the club, leading the AL after being caught stealing 20 times in 1977 and batting only .186 in 98 games in 1978. Early in 1979, he was dealt to the California Angels for Dave Chalk, and he played three mostly unspectacular seasons for the team. After not playing in 1982, he returned for one final season in 1983, appearing in 60 games for the New York Yankees as a utility player.
He coached for the Seibu Lions in 1987 and 1988. The team won both the 1987 Japan Series and 1988 Japan Series. In 1989 and 1990, Campaneris played for the Gold Coast Suns of the Senior Professional Baseball Association. He played in 60 games and hit .291 and stole 16 bases with the team.
During spring training 2015, actor Will Ferrell paid tribute to his favorite player, Campy, by participating in five different games and playing all nine positions in the process.
- 1964 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- 6-time AL All-Star (1968, 1972-1975 & 1977)
- 2-time AL At Bats Leader (1968 & 1972)
- AL Hits Leader (1968)
- AL Singles Leader (1968)
- AL Triples Leader (1965)
- 6-time AL Stolen Bases Leader (1965-1968, 1970 & 1972)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1970)
- 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 7 (1965-1969, 1972 & 1976)
- Won three World Series with the Oakland Athletics (1972, 1973 & 1974)
- Larry Colton: "Southern League", Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY, 2013.
- Rick Schabowski: "Bert Campaneris", in Chip Greene, ed.: Mustaches and Mayhem, Charlie O's Three-Time Champions: The Oakland Athletics 1972-74, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 44-49. ISBN 978-1-943816-07-1