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Martin wins second annual Roy Campanella Award09/26/2007 5:39 PM ET
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that catcher Russell Martin was named the winner of the second 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 uniform personnel, will be presented to Martin by Campanella's daughter, Joni Roan during a pregame ceremony prior to Sunday's contest against the San Francisco Giants. Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal won the inaugural award last season. In his second Major League season, Martin leads all National League catchers with 156 hits, 86 runs, 21 stolen bases a .302 batting average, .385 on-base percentage, .480 slugging percentage and 67 walks. In addition, Martin leads all Major League backstops in games caught (142) and innings behind the plate (1,232). Martin's 21 steals are the most by a Dodger catcher in a season in franchise history, a record previously held by Con Daily for 115 years. Martin was voted by the fans as the starting catcher in the 2007 All-Star Game, becoming the first Dodger catcher to start the Midsummer Classic since Mike Piazza in 1997. Campanella started behind the plate in the All-Star Game for five straight seasons from 1950-54. The durable Martin's 142 games caught rank third in Dodger history behind Piazza's total in 1993 (146) and 1995 (146). The native of Canada has 32 doubles and 18 home runs this season, ranking second on the team in both categories and is batting .366 (4th-NL) to go along with a .469 on-base percentage against left-handed pitching. That OBP vs. left-handers is the third-highest in Dodger history and his 58 doubles in his first two big league seasons are more than any player in Los Angeles Dodger history. Martin kicked off 2007 by participating in the Dodgers' Community Caravan for the second straight season and also visited the Hematology-Oncology Ward at Children's Hospital Los Angeles in June. Campanella was a three-time National League Most Valuable Player (1951, 1953, 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, Campanella 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.
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