Wednesday, March 18, 2009

#75 -- Bert Campaneris

Bert Campaneris

Campy was one of the first of the A's from the glory days of the 70's to come along, just after Dick Green and a few weeks before Dave Duncan and Blue Moon Odom came up. As I mentioned earlier, Campy is Jose Cardenal's cousin. He made a splash right off the bat for the woeful A's.
I remember Campy hitting leadoff and being a speed demon on the bases. Through the early 70's, he was the sparkplug for the team and a All-Star. He was the starting shortstop for the 1973 game in KC that I got to attend as a 9 year old. When he was announced as the leadoff hitter, the AL fans booed him and every other Oakland A that was announced. I didn't understand and my dad had to tell me that the KC fans were still bitter at the A's moving out of KC.
This card features Campy in a bunting pose. There's a lot of green around, with the border, the uniform, the hat, the wall, the grass and the rest of the players in the background. I wish I'd timed this to come out on March 17.
On September 8, 1965, Campy got to play all 9 positions in a game. He got into some plays. In the 2nd he was involved in a rundown. In the 4th, he caught cousin Jose's flyball to left. In the 5th he caught Paul Schaal's fly to center. In the 6th he botched Jim Fregosi's fly to right, allowing a runner to score from 1st. In the 7th, he caught a popup at first, but didn't have to handle a throw on a ground ball. He pitched the 8th, getting Cardenal to pop up as the first man he faced. He walked the next 2 and then a run scored on a base hit. He then struck out Bobby Knoop and a runner was thrown out trying to steal. He caught the 9th and Ed Kirkpatrick stole 2nd on him. Later, however, Kirkpatrick was thrown out trying to advance to home (I couldn't tell if it was a wild pitch, passed ball, etc.) The game went extra and Campy went out.
Campy went at 160 pounds, so I don't think he was on steroids in 1970 when he had his "Brady Anderson" season hitting 22 homers, when his next highest total was 8. He didn't draw a lot of walks. If he played now, he'd be seen as an average shortstop with a below average OPS+. However, he was a top star that was universally well-liked (except for Lerrin LaGrow and Billy Martin).
Campy did learn his lesson about throwing that bat in the 1972 playoffs. He was hit twice in the 1973 Series and once in the 1974 Series without incident.
I liked watching Campy. I still don't know why those people were booing him at the All-Star Game.


  1. I should hate the early 70s A's, especially the '72 that beat my Reds 4-3 in the Series.

    I can't cause their an all-time great team and had so many memorable players.

  2. I grew up just a few miles from Oakland, and I was also 8 in 1972. I grew up with the Swingin' A's. This Campy picture had their previous uniforms, as they switched to the poly-pajama pullovers in '72. The A's and Royals developed a bit of a rivalry in the 70's, as they were almost the only two teams that won a division.

    Personally, I love the '68, '71, '72, '74 and '83 sets.

  3. Campy has to be one of the most underrated players. The early 70's A's were loaded and he was the leadoff man. The guy is a 6 time All-Star, won 3 World Series and stole 649 bases in his career. It is a joke that guys like he and Davey Concepcion do not get in the Hall-of-Fame.

    If you were starting a team, would you pick some one like him or a HOFer like Cepeda or Jim Rice. I would take the SS any day.