Jackie and Campy by William Kashatus

In lore of baseball, Jackie Robinson is a hero. In Dodger baseball, Jackie Robinson is a legend. Being the first black ballplayer in Major League Baseball, Jackie faced immense pain and scrutiny throughout his entire career. Yet almost supernaturally, Jackie did not just survive, he thrived, becoming one of the best all-around ballplayers.

Soon, Dodger head Branch Rickey added more talented black players to the Brooklyn roster. One of the most memorable additions was backstop Roy Campanella. From the start Campy was a forced to be reckoned with both offensively and defensively. Jackie and Campy were soon the faces of the Dodgers, if not all of baseball. With such talent, success, and determination, one would assume Jackie and Campy were united.

They were not.

In the book, Jackie and Campy, Kashatus examines the vital difference between the aggressive Robinson and the gentle Campanella. Though they were never close friends, their years playing together only intensified their differences. Jackie wanted action. Campy wanted harmony.

The book is a well-researched, well-documented study of the two hall of famers during their careers. Robinson and Campanella in a way represented the two attitudes found in black America during the 1940’s. Though an academic would think about Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, a young man in 1950 would have pointed to numbers 42 and 39.

This another great book about the Dodgers, baseball, and American civil rights. It is always amazing to look at this time and see that MLK and the civil rights movement were still decades away. The amount of pressure on Jackie and Campy are beyond any comprehension I could ever imagine.