Chase Utley wins 13th annual Roy Campanella Award
The Dodgers announced today that second baseman Chase Utley was named the winner of the 13th annual Roy Campanella Award, which is given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher.
The Dodgers announced today that second baseman Chase Utley was named the winner of the 13th annual Roy Campanella Award, which is given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. The award, which was voted upon by Dodger uniformed personnel, will be presented to Utley by Campanella's daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, and his grandson, J.T. Campanella, during pregame ceremonies Saturday night.
Former Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal received the inaugural Roy Campanella Award in 2006 and since then the honor has been awarded to Russell Martin (2007), James Loney (2008), Juan Pierre (2009), Jamey Carroll (2010), Matt Kemp (2011), A.J. Ellis (2012), Clayton Kershaw (2013-14), Zack Greinke (2015), Utley (2016) and Justin Turner (2017).
Utley, 39, becomes the second Dodger to win the award twice, joining three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, who won back-to-back Campanella Awards in 2013 and 2014. Utley was originally acquired by the Dodgers on Aug. 19, 2015 in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies and subsequently re-signed to one-year contacts in 2016 and 2017, before singing a two-year deal this past offseason. On July 13, during a press conference at Dodger Stadium attended by the entire team, Utley announced that the 2018 campaign would be his last as an active player, citing the desire to become a full-time Dad. One of the most respected leaders and teammates the game has ever known, Dodger fans were treated to his infectious, gritty and clutch style of play over the past four seasons after a legendary career with the Philadelphia Phillies from 2003-15.
As a true testament to his ability to lead and help the Dodgers in any capacity, Utley won the Campanella Award despite having appeared in 82 games and making just 181 plate appearances. True to form, Utley has battled through injuries to excel in a pinch- hitting role this season, batting .351 (13-for-37) off the bench, which ranks seventh in the National League.
Utley has reached the World Series three times, winning the championship with Philadelphia in 2008. In his career, he's been named an All-Star six times and won four Silver Slugger awards while amassing 1,885 hits, scoring 1,102 runs, hitting 259 homers and driving in 1,025 runs. He has been hit by the pitch 204 times, which ranks eighth in Major League history.
The final words to sum up Chase Utley as a teammate come from Dodger President, Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman:
"He's as good as it gets. The effect he has had throughout. If you think back to 2015, to that point we were one of the worst base-running teams in baseball. We get Utley, and from that point through the end of the season on we were second. It speaks to the effect he can have. He has had as much and as lasting of an impact as I've ever seen a player have on an organization.''
Campanella was a three-time National League Most Valuable Player (1951, 1953 and 1955), eight-time All-Star and a member of the 1955 World Championship team. He played in five World Series and his 142 RBI in 1953 set a franchise record, since surpassed by Tommy Davis (153 in 1962). In 1,215 career games during a 10-year career, all with the Dodgers, he batted .276 with 242 home runs and 856 RBI.
He began his career in the Negro Leagues, establishing himself as one of the top catchers in the league before joining the Dodger organization in 1946. Campanella played for Class B Nashua of the New England League, making that club the first integrated affiliated baseball team in the United States.
On Jan. 29, 1958, just as the Dodgers were making final preparations for their move to Los Angeles, Campanella was involved in a tragic car accident that paralyzed him from the neck down, marking the end of his playing career. On May 7, 1959, a Major League record-setting 93,103 fans filled the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on "Roy Campanella Night" for an exhibition game between the Dodgers and Yankees.
He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 and was among the first three Dodgers to have their uniform numbers retired alongside Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax. Campanella remained active in the Dodgers' Community Relations Department until his death on June 26, 1993 at the age of 71.