1) Roy Campanella
It’s unfortunate that Roy Campanella never got the chance to play with the Dodgers in Los Angeles. A horrific car accident injured the Hall-of-Fame catcher in the months preceding the team’s opener out West.
For the ten seasons before the Dodgers left Brooklyn, Campanella became one of the greatest catchers to ever play the sport. An eight-time All Star, three-time MVP, and 1955 World Series champion, you can’t argue with the hardware the catcher, nicknamed “Campy,” accumulated over the years.
His 242 career home runs still ranks fourth among players who played at least 90 percent of their games at the catcher position. His 1953 season remains one of the greatest seasons by a catcher, when he set a long-standing record for a backstop with 41 home runs, along with 142 RBIs, and a .312 batting average.
The Dodgers have a rich history of backstops who transformed the catching role from a defensive-minded position to one packed with power. From Roy Campanella to Mike Piazza to Russell Martin, the franchise has built a lineage of catchers that hopefully continues to to Will Smith on the current-day Dodgers.
For now, the best ever designation remains with Roy Campanella.