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Mike Scioscia remembers Roy Campanella

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Connected links in the Dodgers catching legacy

Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Only four Dodgers have caught 1,000 games with the team, and the quartet covered nearly the entirety of regular catching for the franchise for over four decades.

From 1948 through 1992, one of Roy Campanella, John Roseboro, Steve Yeager, and Mike Scioscia led the Dodgers in innings caught 39 times in 45 seasons. Campanella, a three-time National league MVP in Brooklyn, was paralyzed in a car accident before the Dodgers played a game in Los Angeles in 1958. He remained a mentor to Dodgers catchers for years.

Scioscia caught up with Bill Ladson of MLB.com about Campanella’s influence:

Maybe Campanella’s best advice was about pacing himself during the season. Campanella told Scioscia a lot about his nine years playing in the Negro Leagues, and how to endure catching through hot summers. Campanella advised Scioscia to pace himself off the field, not on the field.

“That’s a tremendous lesson for a baseball player coming up,” Scioscia said. “The demands of the season are always there. There’s no room for pacing yourself on the field. The thing about Roy, he would say, ‘You can’t pick and choose parts of catching that you like. You have to take the whole package. You are going to take the foul tips just as much as you hit home runs.’

“As we talked, he never talked about any of the things he wasn’t able to accomplish in his life because of the car accident. He was always so positive and forward-thinking.”

In case you’re keeping score, Scioscia has the most games (1,394) and innings caught (11,233⅓) in Dodgers history, and Campanella has the most catching starts (1,127).

Prolific Dodgers backstops

Player Games caught Catching starts Innings caught
Player Games caught Catching starts Innings caught
Mike Scioscia 1,394 1,031 11,233⅓
John Roseboro 1,218 1,120 9,951
Roy Campanella 1,183 1,127 10,129
Steve Yeager 1,181 1,007 9,056⅓
Source: Baseball-Reference

Links

Graham Womack at SI’s Inside the Dodgers held a lengthy interview with Maury Wills, covering a variety of topics. On stealing a record 104 bases in 1962, Wills said, “I never intended to break Ty Cobb’s record. I just thought of stealing bases. That became our attack. I would get on and steal second and then I’d steal third. Somebody’d hit a long fly ball (for a sacrifice fly) and Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale would shut ‘em out.”

Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times caught up with some local announcers, and this Joe Davis quote really hit home: “Especially for the baseball guys, we were leaning into the grind. The everyday grind ... But in a lot of ways, the structure of that grind kind of defines our lives, those of us that are in baseball. So that missing link leaves a huge void. I don’t think you can probably fully appreciate it until it’s taken away.”

Pedro Moura at The Athletic talked with Mark Prior and Dave Roberts about how they are keeping tabs on pitchers, and staying prepared for a potential “Go Day.”

MLB.com’s quest to determine the all-time lineup for every time has shifted to left field. Here’s the Dodgers’ choices:

Not Dodgers related, but this is a fun story: