Jackie and Campy: The Untold Story of Their Rocky Relationship and the Breaking of Baseball's Color Line

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Overview

As star players for the 1955 World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers, and prior to that as the first black players to be candidates to break professional baseball’s color barrier, Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella would seem to be natural allies. But the two men were divided by a rivalry going far beyond the personality differences and petty jealousies of competitive teammates. Behind the bitterness were deep and differing beliefs about the fight for civil rights. 

Robinson, the ...

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Jackie and Campy: The Untold Story of Their Rocky Relationship and the Breaking of Baseball's Color Line

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Overview

As star players for the 1955 World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers, and prior to that as the first black players to be candidates to break professional baseball’s color barrier, Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella would seem to be natural allies. But the two men were divided by a rivalry going far beyond the personality differences and petty jealousies of competitive teammates. Behind the bitterness were deep and differing beliefs about the fight for civil rights. 

Robinson, the more aggressive and intense of the two, thought Jim Crow should be attacked head-on; Campanella, more passive and easygoing, believed that ability, not militancy, was the key to racial equality. Drawing on interviews with former players such as Monte Irvin, Hank Aaron, Carl Erskine, and Don Zimmer, Jackie and Campy offers a closer look at these two players and their place in a historical movement torn between active defiance and passive resistance. William C. Kashatus deepens our understanding of these two baseball icons and civil rights pioneers and provides a clearer picture of their time and our own.

 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/27/2014
Rather than rehashing the titanic myths of two African-American baseball pioneers, Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, Kashatus, a sportswriter (September Swoon), delves into the internal landscape of these men instead of the incredible achievements on the field. The courageous exploits of Robinson for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, according to the author, inspired Martin Luther. King Jr.’s civil rights campaign as well as the 1954 Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education. In a bold, assured narrative, Kashatus measures the pacesetters: “Where Robinson was overtly aggressive and intense, Campanella was more passive and easygoing.” While Robinson’s militancy and outspokenness aggravated some players, pundits, and owners, Campy’s optimism and good-will made him very likable as he became a seven-time All-Star catcher, winning five pennants. If Robinson, who was the 1947 Rookie of the Year and played on seven pennant-winning Dodger clubs, supported the civil rights protests, Campy felt the violence would stop if blacks “stopped pressing too far too fast,” and that conflict between the men led to a public spat resulting in a parting of the ways for nearly 10 years. Using their racial and social attitudes as a springboard, Kashatus has written a superb narrative of sports, race, and politics in the 1950s and ’60s, and also tells of the bittersweet consequences in Jackie and Campy’s lives—Robinson’s death at 53 and Campanella’s paralysis. (Apr.)
Tampa Tribune - Bob D'Angelo

"Robinson and Campanella were trailblazers. Both were passionate, strong-minded men who excelled in baseball and had definite ideas about handling race relations in the game. Kashatus has provided a nice narrative that explains how both men were successful at achieving their goals—on and off the field."—Bob D'Angelo, Tampa Tribune
Larry Lester
“A fantastic and thought-provoking analysis of how two men championed the fight for racial harmony in segregated America via different rules of engagement. A must-read for any serious student of baseball and American history.”—Larry Lester, historian for the Negro League Baseball Hall of Fame
Monte Irvin
“Bill Kashatus has given us a very human account of Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella.”—Monte Irvin, New York Giants Hall of Famer

 

Larry Hogan
“Kashatus sheds new and important insight on the Robinson-Campanella relationship by placing it in the larger framework of African American history.”—Larry Hogan, author of Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803246331
  • Publisher: UNP - Nebraska
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Pages: 248
  • Sales rank: 348,242
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

William C. Kashatus is the author of many books, including September Swoon: Richie Allen, the ’64 Phillies and Racial Integration.

 

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 18, 2014

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    Like many people, baseball was a part of my culture growing up and has remained so ever since. My family originally hail from Brooklyn, making the Brooklyn Dodgers our home team and making this book appealing to me for obvious reasons.

    In this book, William C. Kashatus has delved deep into African-American history and guides the reader through the fight for civil rights. He does this by exploring the rocky relationship between Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella, two men who should have been natural allies but had very contrasting views on politics and dealt with prejudice in very different ways.

    "Where Robinson was overtly aggressive and intense, Campanella was more passive and easygoing," Kashatus says, showing the root of the friction between them. Kashatus uses plenty of examples of the tension between them throughout the book and shows how this affected them and the people surrounding them.

    The events of the book are written in chronological order which helped it to flow nicely, leading you through events as they happened rather than picking and choosing important movements and conversations to cover. Kashatus writes fluently and with a formal yet engaging tone, something which helps to make this an easy yet insightful read. He does not shy away from the difficult issues, but rather faces them head on, giving the reader a far more honest look at what really went on. While I found Jackie Robinson's first memoir (Jackie Robinson: My Own Story the most revealing of his character, this book did a good job at illuminating a dynamic relationship by also including Campy's story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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