Roy Campanella

Roy Campanella

What sort of numbers would Roy Campanella have put up had there not been a color barrier? He didn't get to the major leagues until he was 26, and he was already a polished professional catcher by that time. I figure he could have had at least four seasons of very good production: his age 22-25 seasons.

Given his negro league performance (as much as we know about it) and what he did at the age of 26 against MLB pitching, it's safe to say Campy could have added another 100 home runs and 300 RBI to his totals.

When he was paralyzed in a terrible car accident after the 1957 season, Campanella had already begun his decline and he didn't have much left. But still, he might have hung around for two or three more seasons as a part-time player or even switched to another position, like Yogi Berra did.

All together, had he not been blocked by the color barrier, and had he not been paralyzed, I think a rough estimate would give Campy 115 more homers and 350 RBI. That would have given Campanella the career records in both of those categories by a catcher, about 355 homers and close to 1,200 runs batted in. Neither Yogi Berra nor Johnny Bench would have eclipsed those numbers. It would have taken Mike Piazza to do so.

Campanella was known as "Ol Biscuit Pants" because his ass was so big. If you ever see any video footage of him you'll see why. He looked like he had a sandbag in his underwear.