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Al Campanis
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Sports Executive
    (November 2, 1916-June 21, 1998)
    Born in Kos, Greece
    Birth name was Alessandro Campani
    Second baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1943)
    General manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers (1968-87)
    Fired two days after appearing on Nightline to discuss the 40th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut with the Dodgers (April 6, 1987)
    His Major League playing career lasted just seven games.
    In one of his first trades as general manager, he sent his son Jim to the Kansas City Royals for two minor leaguers.
    Asked by Ted Koppel why there were so few black managers and executives in baseball, he replied that they lacked 'the necessities' for the job.
    Given a chance by Koppel to clairfy, he dug the hole deeper with comments like 'How many quarterbacks do you have, how many pitchers do you have that are black' and praising black people's athletic abilities then adding, 'As far as having the background to become club presidents or presidents of a bank, I don't know.'
    He served in the US Navy during World War II.
    He and Jackie Robinson were teammates on the minor league Montreal Royals, and he once threw down his glove and challenged an opposing player who had been harrassing Robinson.
    Manny Mota called him 'the father of Latin baseball.'
    He later said that by 'necessities' he had meant a lack of experience in the relevant areas rather than innate abilities.
    In the wake of the interview, Commissioner Peter Ueberroth announced that hiring of minority group members would be a Major League priority.

Credit: C. Fishel


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