Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

Gene Schoor’s biography Roy Campanella: Man of Courage describes the professional baseball career of an outstanding athlete who was both respected and loved by fans and teammates. Divided into short chapters, the book primarily covers the years from 1937 to 1958. This span corresponds to the period during which Campanella played professional baseball, first with the Baltimore Elite Giants of the Negro leagues and then with the Brooklyn Dodgers following the integration of the major leagues in 1947.

Schoor initially, and briefly, describes his subject’s childhood. Campanella grew up in the Nicetown section of North Philadelphia, not far from Shibe Park, the home of Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics. Campanella was the son of an Italian father and black (or “Negro,” as was the common term in that era) mother. His love of the sport of baseball appeared early, and Campanella was clearly gifted. His batting prowess was apparent in high school, and in 1937, before his graduation, Campanella signed a professional contract with the Baltimore Elite Giants.

In several short chapters, Schoor outlines Campanella’s years with that club. In 1937—and indeed, until 1947—major league baseball was a sport only for white athletes (or those not black, since some Hispanic and Native Americans did participate). Hence, parallel leagues had been established for black athletes, which at their best were the equal of many major league teams....

(The entire section is 503 words.)