1909 — Bruce “Soupy” Campbell (no relation to the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup-winning defenseman), a Chicago native (LaGrange H.S.) who played the first two of his 13 major league seasons on the South Side, was born 110 years ago today.
Though he played just 16 career games (age 20-22) with the White Sox, he logged a career 0.4 bWAR for the team — over 162 games, that’s a 4.1 WAR, friends. And once Campbell got a chance to play, he had some solid seasons, particularly in 1935 in Cleveland, when he had 2.0 bWAR in just 80 games.
His career peak came in the autumn of his days, when at age 30 and after a decent season for the Tigers, Soupy dominated in his only World Series appearance, getting into all seven games of Detroit’s seven-game loss to the Cincinnati Reds, slashing .360/.448/.520.
Back in 1936 with Cleveland, Campbell went 7-7 in a doubleheader against his former team, the St. Louis Browns. He went 6-for-6 with five RBIs in the first game, making him just the 21st person since 1900 to have a 6-for-6 game. He had a single in the nightcap, then left the game with a 7-for-7 day.
After that season, Campbell was named the Most Courageous Athlete of the Year by Philadelphia sportswriters after surviving spinal meningitis the year before (and was given a 50% chance of survival … yes, Campbell’s career year in 1935 had been cut short by spinal meningitis.)
At 33 and still an active major leaguer, Campbell enlisted in the Army, serving for three years. He returned to the game in 1946, but never made it back to the majors.
Campbell died in 1995, at age 85.