Q&A with Former MLB Catcher Jim Campanis

 Pro Perspective: Jim Campanis

Jim Campanis with father Al Campanis, 1962 Los Angeles Dodgers
Jim Campanis in 1962 with his father, Al Campanis, former scouting director and GM of the team.

From New York to LA

Jim Campanis was born on February 9, 1944, in New York City. His Dad, Al Campanis, played briefly for the Brooklyn Dodgers and later worked in the Dodgers organization after his playing career.

When the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in time for the 1958 season, the Campanis family moved with them. So Jim ended up playing High School ball at Fullerton Union High School in Fullerton, California. 

Jim was signed by his father's team - the Dodgers - in 1962. During his playing days, Campanis stood 6 feet tall and weighed 195 pounds.

Campanis made his major league debut (at 22 years old) for the Dodgers on September 20, 1966, in a home game against the Philadelphia Phillies. He would go on to play parts of six seasons in the big leagues. He played not only for the Dodgers, but also the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates.

Over the course of his major league career, Campanis appeared in 113 games, collected 4 home runs, 9 RBIs, 32 hits and gunned down 14 would be base stealers.

Jim Campanis with the Kansas City Royals

After his playing career ended Jim went to work for the Dodgers. He was a member of the staff when the Dodgers defeated the Oakland A's to win the World Series in 1988

Q&A with Jim Campanis

Jim Campanis is a catcher with MLB experience who has been a teammate to legendary Baseball hall of famers, such as men like Sandy Koufax, Don Dysdale, Don Sutton and Willie Stargell.

I wanted to get his perspective on the questions I typically ask to MLB catchers. So I wrote him a letter a few months back and he took the time to write me back, sign my card, and answer my questions. Check out his responses to my questions below: 

Jim Campanis autograph signed card

Question 1: What is your favorite memory from playing in the major leagues?

Answer: Catching Sandy Koufax. 

Question 2: What do you think is the most important skill that a catcher should have?

Answer: Being able to handle all the different personalit(ies) of the pitching staff - every pitcher is different.

Question 3: If you could give one piece of advice to young catchers hoping to play at the next level, what would it be?

Answer: Always always - put your nose where the ball is going. If the pitch is inside move your nose the left. If the ball is outside move your nose to the right.

Jim Campanis question and answer catcher los angeles dodgers royals pirates

Jim's response to the second question stands out to me as being another one of those intangible, or relational, skills that catchers need to have. Being able to read, manage and influence others is one of those hard to measure skills that is important for catchers.

His response to the third question is very specific and practical, and is something that everyone can work on during the course of their practice.  

Thanks for Reading

We will continue to share more Pro Perspectives with you next year, so be on the lookout for them! Thanks for stopping by Catchers Home.

Scott Perry is the owner and lead author at Catchers Home. He's a former baseball player, a current coach, a husband and a Dad. He remains as passionate about baseball today as he was as a kid.