CHASE UTLEY WINS 11TH ANNUAL ROY CAMPANELLA AWARD

LOS ANGELES - The Dodgers announced today that second baseman Chase Utley was named the winner of the 11th annual Roy Campanella Award, which is given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. The award, which was voted upon by Dodger uniformed personnel, will be presented to Utley by Campanella's daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, and his grandson, Cary Bell, during pregame ceremonies Saturday night.  

Former Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal received the inaugural Roy Campanella Award in 2006 and since then the honor has been awarded to Russell Martin (2007), James Loney (2008), Juan Pierre (2009), Jamey Carroll (2010), Matt Kemp (2011), A.J. Ellis (2012), Clayton Kershaw (2013-14) and Zack Greinke (2015).  

Utley, 37, was acquired by the Dodgers on Aug. 19, 2015 in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies and subsequently re-signed to a one-year contract this offseason to play second base, provide veteran leadership and serve as an example to his teammates of how to play the game the right way. Utley is currently batting .253 with 12 homers, 25 doubles, three triples and 50 RBI in 130 games and nearly 500 at-bats. Utley has hit .289 (24-for-83) with runners in scoring position, including three homers and 37 RBI.    

The Southern California native has primarily batted leadoff this season and played in 126 games at second base, while committing just four errors, tied for first in the NL among second basemen in fielding percentage (.991). Utley is also the only qualifying player in Major League Baseball who has not grounded into a double play this season. His 538 plate appearances without grounding into a double play is the most in Dodger franchise history, surpassing Pete Reiser, who went 537 without grounding into a double play in 1942.

True to his reputation as clutch performer, Utley belted two dramatic grand slams this season: May 27 in front of a hostile environment at Citi Field in New York, and Aug. 16 in his return to Philadelphia. Utley, a key cog in the great Phillies teams from 2007-10, hit two homers in his first game back at Citizens Bank Park after playing in the city of brotherly love from 2003-15. The crowd responded in turn, giving the clutch performer a standing ovation after each blast, almost unheard of for a visiting player.

The true measure of Utley's value comes across in the way his teammates and coaches feel about him. Here are some fitting examples about the 2016 Roy Campanella Award winner as told to various writers over the course of the season:

"If you're not aspiring to be Chase Utley, you've got the wrong idea.'' - Justin Turner

"If I ever have a son, I'm going to tell him, watch the way that Chase plays the game. That's the way you want to play the game." - Clayton Kershaw

"Unbelievable. I don't even know where to start. He's helped me on the field, off the field, in the clubhouse. Anything you can think or imagine I've asked him and he's talked to me about. Just little things I'm picking up that people do…little stuff that I personally never looked at. Just watching his at-bats, watching him grind through at-bats - I'm lost for words how impressive it is, his attention to detail is off the charts." - Corey Seager

"Chase was and has been tremendous, and not only what he does in the clubhouse, but his character, and for me there's no one better. What he's done for us is special. - Dave Roberts

Campanella was a three-time National League Most Valuable Player (1951, 1953 and 1955), eight-time All-Star and a member of the 1955 World Championship team. He played in five World Series and his 142 RBI in 1953 set a franchise record, since surpassed by Tommy Davis (153 in 1962). In 1,215 career games during a 10-year career, all with the Dodgers, he batted .276 with 242 home runs and 856 RBI.

He began his career in the Negro Leagues, establishing himself as one of the top catchers in the league before joining the Dodger organization in 1946. Campanella played for Class B Nashua of the New England League, making that club the first integrated affiliated baseball team in the United States.

On Jan. 29, 1958, just as the Dodgers were making final preparations for their move to Los Angeles, Campanella was involved in a tragic car accident that paralyzed him from the neck down, marking the end of his playing career. On May 7, 1959, a Major League record-setting 93,103 fans filled the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on "Roy Campanella Night" for an exhibition game between the Dodgers and Yankees.

He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 and was among the first three Dodgers to have their uniform numbers retired alongside Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax. Campanella remained active in the Dodgers' Community Relations Department until his death on June 26, 1993 at the age of 71.