The Dodgers announced on Friday afternoon that third baseman Justin Turner was named the winner of the 14th 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 Turner by Campanella’s daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, and his grandson, Malcom Campanella, before Saturday night’s contest against the Rockies.
Former Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal received the inaugural Roy Campanella Award in 2006. 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), Chase Utley (2016, 2018) and Turner (2017, 2019).
Turner, 34, becomes the third Dodger to win the award twice, joining Kershaw, who won back-to-back Campanella Awards in 2013 and 2014, and Utley, who won in 2016 and 2018. Turner was initially signed by the Dodgers as a non-roster free agent with an invitation to spring training prior to the 2014 season. Since that time, he has been a star both on and off the field, while also serving as an exemplary leader inside the clubhouse.
In 131 games this season, Turner is hitting .291 with a career high-tying 27 home runs, 67 RBI, a career-best 80 runs scored, a .370 on-base percentage and an .884 OPS. Turner has started 116 games at third base and with nine games to play, owns the best fielding percentage of his career at the hot corner with a mark of .873.
The Long Beach native belted 10 home runs in August, the most homers he has ever hit in a calendar month, while hitting .322 (6th, NL) on the road with a .942 OPS. Since arriving in Los Angeles, Turner ranks among the National League leaders in batting average (.302, T-4th), on-base percentage (.381, 8th) and OPS (.888, 10th).
The former Cal-State Fullerton standout is looking forward to next month in the postseason, where he has been exceptional since joining the Dodgers. In 49 career-postseason games, turner is hitting .313 (56-for-179) with seven homers, 30 RBI and a .420 OBP.
Turner has also set an example for his teammates off the field in the community, having been named the Dodgers’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award in both 2017 and 2018. He frequently makes community appearances on behalf of the team and often schedules his own visits to children’s hospitals and to the Los Angeles Dream Center—a nonprofit that assists homeless families with residential, foster care, medical, life skills and other services.
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.
(Tiffany Seal furnished the majority of information provided in this report)