Al Campanis

Al Campanis

Infobox MLB retired
name=Al Campanis
position=Second Baseman
birthdate= November 2, 1916
deathdate=death date and age|1998|6|21|1916|11|2
debutdate=September 23
debutteam=Brooklyn Dodgers
finaldate=October 3
finalteam=Brooklyn Dodgers
*Brooklyn Dodgers (1943)

Alexander Sebastian Campanis (November 2, 1916 - June 21, 1998) was an American executive in Major League Baseball. He had a brief Major League career as a second baseman, playing in seven games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1943, and he also played for the Montréal Royals, the minor league team of the Brooklyn Dodgers, with Jackie Robinson. Campanis is most famous for his position as general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1968 to 1987, from which he was fired as a result of a high-profile incident in which he made racially insensitive remarks during a live interview on April 6, 1987.

He is the only player in Major League history born in Kos. [ [ Players Born in Less Common Countries - ] ]


Campanis' infamous remarks took place on the late-night ABC News program "Nightline", coinciding with the 40th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's Major League Baseball debut (April 15, 1947). Campanis, who had played alongside Robinson and was known for being close to him, was being interviewed about the subject. "Nightline" anchorman Ted Koppel asked him why, at the time, there had been few black managers and no black general managers in Major League Baseball. Campanis' reply was that blacks "may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or, perhaps, a general manager" for these positions. Elsewhere in the interview he said that blacks are often poor swimmers "because they don't have the buoyancy." Koppel says he gave Campanis several opportunities to clarify ("Do you really believe that?") or back down on his remarks but Campanis confirmed his views with his replies. A protest erupted the next morning and he resigned two days later.

The controversy was especially heated when it was pointed out that Campanis had participated in the decision over who would replace Walter Alston as the manager of the Dodgers. It had been a choice between the two coaches at the time, Tom Lasorda and Jim Gilliam, and it raised the question of whether Gilliam had been passed over because he was black.

In an interview the next year, Campanis attempted to clarify that he was referring to the lack of African-Americans with experience in these areas, rather than their innate abilities. He also said that he was "wiped out" when the interview took place and therefore not entirely himself. Many other figures in baseball, such as fellow Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda and former Dodgers player Don Newcombe, have also spoken in Campanis' defense.


*In one of Campanis' first trades as general manager of the Dodgers, Campanis traded his own son, Jim Campanis to the Kansas City Royals for two minor leaguers. []

*In the book Baseball's Golden Greeks by Diamantis Zervos, Campanis' son, Jim, relates one of the big moments in his life which he called "a Greek moment in Cincinnati in 1967" when Jim was batting against the Reds, Alex Grammas was coaching third base, Chris Pelekoudas was umpiring behind the plate and the Reds' pitcher was Milt Pappas. []

*Al Campanis was the scout who discovered future pitching great and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.

ee also

*List of second generation MLB players


External links

* [ In-depth article on the interview by Bob Baker]

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