Ex-Dodgers Exec. Campanis Dies
FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) _ Al Campanis, who was fired by the Los Angeles Dodgers for suggesting on national television that blacks were unqualified to be managers or executives, died Sunday. He was 81.
Campanis, the former general manager of the Dodgers, died of coronary artery disease at 6:30 a.m., Orange County Supervising Deputy Coroner Rick McAnally said. He had diabetes and nearly died of pneumonia last year.
``He was just a great baseball man who loved the game, who obviously dedicated his life to the game,″ Dodgers manager Bill Russell said.
``He put some great teams together when he was general manager. He was a guy that really knew the game, and obviously he played it. And he really was a good teacher, a great general manager.″
Campanis was dismissed in 1987 shortly after he appeared on ABC’s ``Nightline″ and said blacks ``lacked the necessities″ to be managers and front-office executives. He was replaced by longtime Dodgers employee Fred Claire.
Last year former Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, a longtime friend, called Campanis ``my mentor, who taught so much about the game of baseball and life.″
Campanis was the team’s general manager from 1968-87. Before that, he was the team’s scouting director. Under his leadership, the Dodgers won the World Series in 1981, beating the New York Yankees in six games.
Funeral services were pending.