There are reasons aplenty to watch Tony Campana hit, run and cover centerfield. He’s a throwback to the dead ball era of 90 years ago.
A rookie in 2011, Tony Campana has versatility and energy seldom seen in today’s longball era.
In the dead ball era of the late 1880s thru early 1920, the action focused on the infield, with players beating out bunts or slapping the harder, slightly bigger baseball just over the reach of the infielders. And, hard sliding by base stealers into fielders standing their ground was the norm rather than the exception (an aggressive base running style made famous by Ty Cobb).
In the batter’s box, Tony Campana slaps the ball to all fields and his constant squaring off to bunt captures the attention of the crowd. On Memorial Day, May 30, 2011 in a game against the Houston Astros, he hit a routine grounder to the second baseman and beat it out for a single. The only other player that is on record of doing that was Mickey Mantle, who before he injured his knee, could batting left-handed was timed running to first base in 3.1 seconds.
Back to this current Memorial Day, Tony Campana brought excitement to the hometown crowd by tying a Cubs record by stealing four bases in the game, (including home) and defensively he crashed into the centerfielder ivy covered walls. He stole second twice, third once and home plate once but not in the same inning.
Looking into the past dead ball era, the only Cubs player ever to steal second, third and home in the same inning was Wilbur Good on April 18, 1915 during baseball’s dead ball era.
Baseball Historian Book of Records Dead Ball Era