Black History Month: Don Newcombe, Roy Campanella

This is part from my post last June when I went to Nashua, NH. 

In 1946 when Branch Rickey signed Don Newcombe & Roy Campanella   He had to send them to A Ball because of their history as Negro League stars. 

When a Midwestern league made it clear that blacks were not welcome, Rickey contacted Buzzy Bavasi, then a young general manager with the Nashua Dodgers. Bavasi made it clear that his only interest was in a player’s ability.

Roy Campanella (left) and Don Newcombe (right) at Nashua's Holman Stadium, 1946. Historical New Hampshire cover image courtesy of the Boston Globe.

Nashua holds another first in the history of the desegregation of major league baseball. When Nashua manager Walter Alston was ejected from a game that year, he left the team in the hands of Roy Campanella, who became the first African-American to manage an affiliated major league game. The Nashua Dodgers beat the Lawrence Millionaires 7-5. 3 That year the team won the New England League Championship.

There is another interesting note to the 1946 season. A local poultry farmer, Jack Fallgren, offered 100 baby chicks for every home run hit by a Nashua player. At the end of the season, Campanella shipped 1400 chicks to his father, who started a chicken farm outside of Philadelphia.

Holman Stadium has also been home to three other minor league teams, the 1980s Eastern League affiliates of the California Angels (1983) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1984-86), as well as the short-lived independent Nashua Hawks (1995-96).

Very nice plaque.

may june 09 059.jpg

Notice the retired numbers of Newk, Campy and Jackie. 

may june 09 060.jpg

 After Roy Campanella’s car accident he would require a wheelchair for the remainder of his life.  He worked in Vero Beach mentoring and coaching young catchers for the Dodger organization. 

In 1978 he moved to  California  and took a job as assitant to the Dodgers’ director of community relations and longtime friend Don Newcombe. 

Don Newcombe was promoted to Special Advisor to the Chairman.    

 

13 Comments

Thanks Mike! There was still another statue around Nashua that I did not get there but I will look for it in my next trip in April there for work.
I am SUPER EXCITED about the Dodger caravan today. I could not got yesterday but will be there today! !

Emma, that was a great post! I loved it! I just put Nashua on this year’s places to go. Thanks friend!

Two great Dodgers: Campy and Newcombe. Nice tribute to both. The Dodgers have such a rich history and tradition.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Emma, you’re doing a great job educating us while we wait for spring. Keep up the good work!
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Great post, Emma. That is a great plaque in Nashua!

I don’t know why my response gets ahead of the question. I really don’t read minds!
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Thanks Jane! And I just love reading about the rich tradition.
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Thanks Sue!
Is only 16 days before Pitchers and catchers report for us! Woohoo!
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Thanks Greg!
I am glad that I got to take a trip there!

Love the chick story :O) That is awesome!

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that Bob Costas’ MLB Network piece on Campy gets me all teary-eyed. What a player, what a story, what an event. Awesome.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

The story of Roy Campanella always makes me cry. MLB Network has a quick five minute segment they do on him during commercial breaks sometimes, and it gets me every time! I didn’t know he was the first African American to manage an affiliated Major League game–that’s so cool! It’s good to hear that Bavasi was one of the first to consider ability rather than race.

On another note, you mentioned to me a while ago that I should look into contacting Vin Scully… do you have any information regarding his email address or something like that?

Elizabeth
http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com

Jenn,
Yeah, I found the chick story funny.
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ahh Jeff! I cry everytime I see the Roy Campanella movie “Is Good to be Alive” I actually should look for the book.
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Elyzabeth,
I don’t have email address but you can send him regular mail at
Vin Scully
1000 Elysian Park ave
Los Angeles, Ca 90090 (the old zip was 90012 but the Dodgers got a zip code all to themselves. I wrote about it here and posted pictures of the stamps with Dodger players. I am told that Vin responds! I actually been wanting to write to him myself but I always put it off. Let’s you and I do it this year!
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Note: I have not finished yet with my post from the Dodger Caravan.

great tributes to these groundbreaking ballplayers. its good to know they have been involved with the team in their community relations capacity. awesome move by the dodgers to hire them
http://pittpeas.mlblogs.com

Hey Emma!
So how was your caravan experience? I just read Cat’s, and she didn’t seem to have a great experience. I hope yours was better.

Matt,
I love that the Dodgers hired them. Back in the days when Maury was having his trouble, Walter O’Malley had a meeting and asked “What can we do to help Maury?”
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Hey Carol,
I had a wonderful time! I still like the one at Pnada Inn better but we still had a wonderful time! I am still putting my pictures and post together. System was running too slow to post.

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