May 7, 1959: Roy Campanella Night

It was May 7, 1959, on an exhibition game at the Los Angeles Coliseum that the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated the life of former Brooklyn Dodgers catcher, Roy Campanella. Campy as he was affectionately known became an important member of the Brooklyn Dodgers team of the late 40s-mid 50s and is considered one of the greatest catchers in major league baseball. 

On January 28, 1958, Roy Campanella got into a late night car accident when his rented vehicle slid and hit a telephone pole. The crash left him paralyzed from his shoulders down as he broke his neck and suffered injuries to his vertebrae and spinal cord.

On May 7th, over 93,000 fans packed the coliseum to see the Los Angeles Dodgers play an exhibition game against the New York Yankees. It was the largest crowd to watch a baseball game. Roy Campanella was wheeled to the field by his former Brooklyn Dodger teammate, Pee Wee Reese. When Campy was being wheeled to the field, the lights of the stadium were turned off and the fans lit cigarette lighters to give Campanella a very emotional tribute. The proceeds of the exhibition game allowed Roy to pay for his medical bills.

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