Campanis, Alessandro Sebastian 'Al'
Alexander Sebastian Campanis (born Alessandro Campani, November 2, 1916 – June 21, 1998) was an American executive in Major League Baseball. He had a brief Major League career as a second baseman, playing for both the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers' minor-league team. Campanis is most famous for his position as general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1968 to 1987, from which he was fired on April 6, 1987 as a result of controversial remarks regarding blacks in baseball during an interview on Nightline. Autograph Letter Signed 01/23/1978
Al Campanis was born to Greek-speaking parents in Kos, a small island within the Dodecanese Islands, on November 2, 1916. Kos has been part of Greece since 1947, although, at the time of Campanis' birth, it belonged to Italy. He moved with his family to New York City at age 6. He attended New York University, graduating in 1940. After graduating, Campanis became a professional baseball player, signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was then sent to play with several minor-league teams, including the Macon Peaches. He eventually played for the Brooklyn Dodgers as a second baseman for seven games in 1943.
He then served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, reaching the rank of Chief Petty Officer. After returning from the war, he played for the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers' minor-league team, with Jackie Robinson as one of his teammates. Campanis soon afterward became a scout for the Dodgers, then eventually their scouting director. While a scout, he notably discovered future pitching great and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.
Campanis moved with the team to Los Angeles when they became the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1958. He then became the Dodgers' general manager in 1968. In one of Campanis' first trades as general manager of the Dodgers, Campanis traded his own son Jim, to the Kansas City Royals for two minor leaguers. Under Campanis the Dodgers reached the World Series four times, in 1974, 1977, 1978 and 1981. They lost the first three of these, but finally won in 1981.