Bill James in his first Historical Abstract rated players on both peak and career. He had Roy Campanella as first in peak. Even though there are more sophisticated methods today he might have been right. However, his career is even shorter that Mickey Cochrane’s. He played only 10 years in MLB. He started in the Negro Leagues when I’m sure he was one of the top 5 catchers in baseball at the time. It just wasn’t recorded. When he started in the MLB he started in the minors as was Branch Rickey’s plan.
In his last 4 years he won one of his 3 MVPs, but the other 3 seasons he was a mediocre part time player. I don’t know how long Campanella would have stayed in baseball if he hadn’t of had his accident. He was well respected, but probably not a full-time player.
They made a TV movie about Campanella having his car accident and his life afterwards. A TV movie was a movie that was made less expensively, and the quality wasn’t as great. I remember the movie being kind of slow, but you couldn’t watch it without having feelings for Campanella. The one great TV movie I remember was “Brian’s Song”. It was one of the few movies a guy is allowed to cry.
When I was a kid Campanella was known as a friendly guy, who had a serious car accident that not only ended his career but crippled him for life. He still kept his good attitude and eventually got use of his arms. He lived to 71 which is pretty good after the accident he had.
When I showed my list, by position, one reader remarked that usually Campanella and Cochrane were in the top 10. He makes a good point. I played with increasing the prime, but I feel the ratings worked better the way I have them. I could have doubled the points for the MVP award. That would have put Campanella in 120th place. However, I didn’t want to rely on too much on subjective numbers. But doubling those points would not been a bad thing, but I’m not going to do that now. Anyway, Campanella is an easy hall of famer either way.