The first African American catcher to play in Major League Baseball was Roy Campanella. Today Campanella is not as recognizable as his Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Jackie Robinson who had his debut in the spring of 1947, but his contributions to the Dodgers were essential for the team's successes in the 1950s. Campanella was selected as the National League's Most Valuable Player three times in 1951, 1953 and 1955. Jackie Robinson was only selected as the National League MVP once in 1949. In 1953, Campanella hit 40 home runs, a single season record for a catcher in Major League Baseball. This record would stand until 1996.
Roy Campanella along with Jackie Robinson and other early African American baseball players pioneered a path of excellence which shattered the color barrier forever. This allowed for the eventual opening up of every professional sport to persons of all races and backgrounds.
With this issuance, the Postal Service recognizes the accomplishments of baseball great, Roy Campanella. Lonnie Busch of Franklin, North Carolina, based this illustration on a historic photograph, simplifying and adapting the portrait to resemble an old-fashioned baseball trading card. Avery Dennison manufactured the stamps in the gravure process.
Reference: Postal Bulletin (June 22, 2006).
Scott Catalogue USA: 4080
Copyright United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.
Museum ID: 2006.2036.66