The award, which was voted upon by Dodger uniform personnel, will be presented to Pierre by Campanella’s daughter, Joni Campanella Roan during a pregame ceremony prior to tomorrow night’s contest against the Colorado Rockies. Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal received the inaugural award in 2006, Dodger catcher Russell Martin won it in 2007, and first baseman James Loney took home the honor last season.
In his third season with the Dodgers, Pierre is hitting .305 with 56 runs and 27 stolen bases in 142 games. The outfielder has started 74 games overall, 62 in left field and 12 in center field, making just one error in those contests. The Alabama native is hitting .300 (93-for-310) with 16 doubles, four triples, 41 runs scored, 27 RBI, and 25 stolen bases in those starts.
Pierre filled in admirably during Manny Ramirez’s 50-game suspension this season, starting all 50 games in left field and hitting .318 (68-for-214) with 14 doubles, 21 RBI, 16 walks, 32 runs scored, and a .381 on-base percentage in that time. Pierre also stole 21 bases in 28 attempts during the 50 games, good for a 75 percent success rate. The Dodgers went 29-21 over that span.
Pierre won the clubhouse nod for the honor in the closest balloting in the Roy Campanella Award’s four-year history. Beginning on the first day of Spring Training at Camelback Ranch – Glendale, Pierre wore a t-shirt that simply read “BEAST MODE” on the front and “24/7, 365” on the back. The slogan became an early rallying cry for the Dodgers and helped propel the team to the best record in the Major Leagues at the All-Star break with a record of 56-32.
Over the second half of the season, the 10-year veteran has established himself as not only the Dodgers’ top pinch-hitter, but also one of the best pinch-hitters in the National League. Pierre leads all Major Leaguers with 12 pinch-hits since the All-Star break and overall is hitting .333 (14-for-42) with two triples, five walks, nine runs scored, and a .404 on-base percentage in 49 pinch-hitting plate appearances.
Pierre is batting .317 vs. left-handers, .307 with runners in scoring position, and .366 against the National League West. The speedy outfielder stole at least 25 bases for the ninth consecutive season and is currently tied for fifth in the NL in that category, despite just 74 starts.
Off the field, Pierre continued his “Pierre’s Pack” community initiative this season in which he treated groups from after school inner-city organizations to tickets, a meal, and a pre-game meet-and-greet. Pierre also joined James Loney at the State Farm Dodgers Dream Foundation’s annual bowling Extravaganza in July as well as lending a hand to Orlando Hudson during his “Around the Mound” tour in May.
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 Robinson and Sandy Koufax. Campanella remained active in the Dodgers’ Community Relations Department until his passing on June 26, 1993 at the age of 71.