The Jackie Robinson Show
Ran across this story Wednesday on the Dodgers community caravan. Too wild not to be true ...
Maybe some kids at a grammar school on Long Island were stumped when the teacher handed out a show-and-tell assignment, but not young Jimmy Campanis.
Jimmy's father, Al Campanis, was briefly a second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson's roommate in the minors. He moved into the front office and later became the team's general manager.
"When I was like 10 or 11 years old, I had a show-and-tell at school,'' Jimmy said. "My dad said, 'What are you going to do?'
"I said I'm going to do a thing on Jackie Robinson. And he asked what I was going to show. So I said, 'Dad, you being a good friend of his, why don't you bring him for me?' ''
To kids, all things are possible.
"So I get up in front of the class and I do the whole tell thing about how he was the first black player, what his average was and all the great things he did.
"Then the teacher said, 'That's good, Jimmy, but what do you have for show? Do you have a bat or a ball or something like that?'
"I said, 'No,' but then I walked into the corridor and brought Jackie Robinson into the room.''
Even in his youth, Jimmy had a sense for the dramatic.
"For the rest of the year, I was like the big guy on campus.''
Jimmy would later have a brief career as a catcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers. When Al Campanis became the team's GM in 1968, one of his first deals was to trade Jimmy to the Kansas City Royals for a pair of minor-leaguers.
-- Steve Dilbeck