LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Red Alert!
The Dodgers announced Friday that redheaded third baseman Justin Turner was named the winner of the 14th annual Roy Campanella Award — given to the Dodger player the team says best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Famer.
The award, voted upon by Dodger uniformed personnel, will be presented to Turner by Campanella’s daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, and his grandson, Malcom Campanella, during pregame ceremonies Saturday evening.
Turner is no stranger to winning the award. In fact, he won in 2017. He becomes the third Dodger to win the award twice.
Former Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal received the first Campanella Award in 2006.
In subsequent years, the prestigious award has been given to Russell Martin (2007), James Loney (2008), Juan Pierre (2009), Jamey Carroll (2010), Matt Kemp (2011), A.J. Ellis (2012), Clayton Kershaw (2013-14), Zack Greinke (2015), Chase Utley (2016, 2018) and Turner (2017, 2019).
Turner, 34, initially signed by the Dodgers as a non-roster free agent with an invitation to Spring Training prior to the 2014 season after the New York Mets didn’t tender him a contract. (To be fair to the Mets, Turner only hit .265 over four seasons in NY.)
Of course, he became a superstar in Los Angeles.
Not only a star in the field and at the plate, Turner is known as a strong leader inside the clubhouse, too. As a batter, in 131 games this season, Turner is hitting .291 with a career high-tying 27 home runs, 67 RBI, a career-best 80 runs scored, a .370 on-base percentage and an .884 OPS.
Turner has started 116 games at third base and with nine games to play, he owns the best fielding percentage of his career with a mark of .873.
The popular Dodger slammed 10 home runs in August, the most homers he ever hit in a calendar month, while hitting .322 (6th, NL) on the road with a .942 OPS. Since coming to his hometown team in 2014, Turner ranks among the National League leaders in batting average (.302, T-4th), on-base percentage (.381, 8th) and OPS (.888, 10th).
Off the field, Turner has also inspired his teammates with his dedication to giving back, charity work and community involvement. He was the Dodgers’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award in both 2017 and 2018.
Campanella was a three-time National League MVP (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, “Campy” batted .276 with 242 home runs and 856 RBI.
On Jan. 29, 1958, Campanella was involved in a tragic car accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. 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 Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax. Campanella remained active in the Dodgers’ Community Relations Department until his death in 1993 at the age of 71.
Turner was an 8-year-old Dodgers fan living in Long Beach, California at the time of Campanella’s passing.