Bert Campaneris Dagoberto Campaneris Blanco (born March 9, 1942 in Pueblo Nuevo, Cuba), generally known as Bert Campaneris and nicknamed "Campy", is a former shortstop in Major League Baseball who played for four American League teams, primarily the Kansas City & Oakland Athletics. One of the mainstays of the A's championship teams of 1971 to 1975, he holds the Athletics franchise's records for career games played (1795), hits (1882) and at bats (7180). After leading the AL in stolen bases six times from 1965 to 1972, he retired with the seventh most steals in history (649); he also held the Athletics' career record from 1972 to 1990. He led the league in putouts three times, and ended his career among the career leaders in games (5th, 2097) and double plays (7th, 1186) at his position. His cousin JosĂ© Cardenal was a major league outfielder for 18 seasons.
A small, skinny player at 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) and 160 pounds (73 kg), the Cuban-born Campaneris was a key figure on the Athletics of the 1960s and 1970s, adding his fiery temper, competitive spirit and superb play to the team; he was also a daredevil on the basepaths. In his debut with Kansas City on July 23, 1964, Campaneris belted two home runs, the first coming on the first pitch thrown to him by Jim Kaat. He is one of three players in major league history to hit two homers in his first game; Bob Nieman (1951) and Mark Quinn (1999) are the only others to accomplish this feat.
On September 8, 1965, as part of a special promotion featuring the popular young player, Campaneris became the first player to play every position in a major league game . On the mound, he pitched ambidextrously, throwing lefty to left-handers, and switched against right-handers. Since then, CĂ©sar Tovar (Twins, 1968), Scott Sheldon (Rangers, 2000) and Shane Halter (Tigers, 2000) have joined this select list of nine-position players in a major league game. Also in 1965, Campaneris led Kansas City in batting average (.270), and led the league in triples (12) and stolen bases (51), the latter mark being the highest total by an Athletic since Eddie Collins stole 58 in 1914. In 1966 he finished 10th in the voting for the AL's Most Valuable Player award after having a similar season at the plate, but playing more regularly at shortstop.
When the A's moved to Oakland in 1968, he had perhaps his finest year, leading the league in hits (177), steals (62), and at bats (642); the last mark was an Oakland record until Johnny Damon broke it in 2001. Campaneris enjoyed another fine year in 1970, batting .279 with career highs of 22 home runs and 64 runs batted in while leading the league in steals for the fifth time (42) and scoring 97 runs. He improved consistently on defense; his six double plays in an extra-inning game on September 13 of that year set an AL record, and in 1972 he led AL shortstops with 795 total chances while also breaking Collins' franchise record of 376 steals. An avid bunter, he led the league in sacrifice hits in 1972 (20), 1977 (40) and 1978 (25).
In his postseason career he had 11 RBI with 3 home runs, 4 doubles and a triple, scored 15 runs, and stole 6 bases in 37 games. In Game Two of the 1972 American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers, Campaneris already had three hits, two steals and two runs when in the 7th inning he faced pitcher Lerrin LaGrow. After a pitch hit him in the ankle, he threw his bat at LaGrow. The benches cleared, with Detroit manager Billy Martin going after Campaneris; both Campaneris and LaGrow were ejected. He was fined and suspended for the rest of the ALCS, as well as the first seven games of the next season, but was permitted to play in the World Series win over the Cincinnati Reds.
In the 1973 American League Championship Series, he led off Game 2 with a home run, and won Game 3 with a leadoff home run in the 11th inning; in Game 7 of that year's World Series, he hit a 2-run homer, followed by another 2-run shot by Reggie Jackson, giving Oakland an early 4-0 lead as the A's won the World Championship for the second straight year. In 1974 he broke Jimmy Dykes' franchise mark for career at bats (6023), and in 1976 he broke Dykes' mark for games played (1702), as well as Al Simmons' Athletics record of 1827 career hits.
After the 1976 season, he signed with the Texas Rangers, but he saw his playing timed reduced in 1978. In May 1979 he was traded to the California Angels, and he split time at shortstop over the next two seasons with Jim Anderson and Freddie Patek before playing as a reserve third baseman in 1981. After spending 1982 in the Mexican League, Campaneris returned to the majors for a last hurrah in 1983 with Billy Martin's New York Yankees. He batted a career-high .322 in 60 games at second and third bases, and also as a pinch hitter and as a pinch runner, before retiring.
In his 19-year career Campaneris batted .259 with 79 home runs, 646 RBI, 1181 runs, 2249 hits, 313 doubles, and 86 triples in 2328 games. His 649 stolen bases placed him 7th in major league history, and behind only Ty Cobb and Eddie Collins in the AL. His Athletics record of 566 steals was broken by Rickey Henderson in 1990; Henderson also surpassed his Oakland records for career hits, triples and at bats. Campaneris retains the Athletics franchise records for career games (1702), putouts (2932), assists (5021) and double plays (934) at shortstop.
Currently, Campaneris lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, and often participates in Old-Timers' games around the country. He also conducts baseball camps and is an active participant in the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, often playing in charity golf tournaments.