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.
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.
Notice the retired numbers of Newk, Campy and Jackie.
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.