09/20/2011 5:23 PM ET
Kemp Wins Sixth Annual Roy Campanella Award
LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that All-Star center fielder Matt Kemp was named the winner of the sixth 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 Kemp by Campanella's daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, during pre-game ceremonies tomorrow night.
Former Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal received the inaugural Roy Campanella Award in 2006 and since then the honor has been bestowed to Russell Martin (2007), James Loney (2008), Juan Pierre (2009), Jamey Carroll (2010) and now Kemp.
In his fourth full Major League campaign, Kemp has put together a season for the ages as he is currently hitting .320 with 34 homers, 113 RBI and 103 runs scored. Kemp ranks among the National League's top-four in batting average (3rd), home runs (T-3rd), RBI (T-1st), runs (103, T-1st), stolen bases (40, 2nd), on-base percentage (.398, 4th), slugging percentage (.565, 2nd), hits (180, 4th) and total bases (318, T-1st). If the 26-year-old were to finish the season ranked in the top three in homers, average, RBI and steals, he would become just the seventh player in history to do so in their respective league, joining Ty Cobb (1907, 1909, 1910, 1911), Honus Wagner (1908), George Sisler (1920), Chuck Klein (1932), Willie Mays (1955) and Hank Aaron (1963) as the only players to accomplish this feat (Source: Stats, LLC).
On Aug. 26, 2011, Kemp became just the second Dodger in franchise history to hit at least 30 home runs while stealing at least 30 bases, joining Raul Mondesi, who accomplished the feat twice (1997, '99). Even more impressive, Kemp is now the only player in Dodger history and just the 13th in big league history to steal at least 40 bases while hitting at least 30 homers.
When the season ends, the Oklahoma native will be one of five players in Major League history to hit over 30 homers, steal more than 35 bases, drive in more than 100 runs and hit higher than .310, joining Ken Williams (1922), Barry Bonds (1992), Alex Rodriguez (1998) and Vladimir Guerrero (2002). The 2011 Campanella winner is also just the eighth Los Angeles Dodger to drive in 100 runs while also scoring 100.
Of all the numbers and accomplishments, the one that resonates with Kemp's teammates the most is his current streak of playing in 355 consecutive games without taking a day off, which is easily the longest-active games played streak in the Major Leagues. Kemp's 1,299.1 innings played is third among all National League outfielders and he leads all NL center fielders with 11 outfield assists.
Kemp has been steady in the clutch as well, hitting .327 (48-for-127) with runners in scoring position and .344 (95-for-276) with runners on base while leading the Major Leagues with three walk-off home runs this year. Opposing teams have been careful with the MVP candidate all season long as he ranks eighth in the NL with a career-high 73 walks and second in the Majors with 24 intentional passes.
The six-year pro was rewarded for his fast start in July as the fans voted him to start for the National League in the All-Star Game, which took place in Arizona this season. Kemp didn't take a day off there either, going 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored in the Midsummer Classic.
For the second consecutive year, the Dodgers Dream Foundation (DDF) will make a financial contribution to support the Roy and Roxie Campanella Physical Therapy Scholarship Endowment at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). Last year, the DDF, CSUN and the Campanella family announced a partnership that will ensure the legacy of the Hall of Famer catcher for years to come. In addition to the endowment, the partnership also provides an internship opportunity within the Dodgers' medical department each season for a student from the university's physical therapy program.
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 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.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, pioneers in sport and world culture, have won more games, more pennants, and more World Series than any other club in the National League since moving to Los Angeles. Since the start of the modern era in baseball, the Dodgers of Brooklyn and Los Angeles, combined, have a cumulative attendance of more than 190 million, the highest total in the history of baseball or any other sport.
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