All-Time Indians: Bruce Campbell

Name: Bruce Douglas Campbell       Position: Right Field    
                Number: 23      
Tribe Time: 1935-1939           DOB: 10/20/1909    
Stats G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG AVG OPS
Best Season (1938) 133 511 90 148 27 12 12 72 235 53 57 11 7 .360 .460 .290 .820
Career 533 1889 347 576 133 41 37 289 902 237 204 26 20 .381 .478 .305 .859

One of the greatest Indians right fielders ever, Bruce Campbell (not to be confused with Soup Campbell, who played for the Indians from 1940 through 1941) played just a short time with the Tribe at an extremely high level. After a decent start through the first five years of his career (including 16 home runs and 106 RBI in 1933), Campbell was traded from the St. Louis Browns to the Indians in exchange for Johnny Burnett and Bob Weiland at the end of the 1934 season. 

In his first season in Cleveland, Campbell fought a bout of spinal meningitis, playing just 80 games, but batting an impressive .325. The following year he was even better, batting .372, but played even less, just 76 games after fighting a third bout with the disease. In the 1930's the disease was often fatal and in fact, was the cause of Addie Joss' untimely death. The fact that he beat the disease on three separate occasions is amazing enough, but the fact that he became a full time player in 1937 and was an impressive talent throughout the rest of his career was truly tremendous.

In the next three seasons, Campbell played in at least 130 games per year, knocked in at least 60 and scored at least 80 runs. While none of these teams were really competitive, they did have some great offenses and Campbell was a strong part of that, teaming up with Earl Averill and Jeff Heath to become of the greatest outfields in team history. The best of these years, offensively, was 1938 when Hal Trosky, Heath and Ken Keltner in his rookie year, each knocked in more than 100 while Campbell was one of the major recipients of that production, scoring 90 times.

Campbell played his final season with the Tribe in 1939 and was traded at the beginning of 1940 to the Tigers for Beau Bell. Bell played just two years for the Indians at a level far below they had learned to expect from Campbell. Campbell himself only played three more years and had one more great season in 1941 before retiring after the 1942 season with Washington. Despite his bouts with a very deadly disease in his 20's, Campbell lived a long life, dying at the age of 85 in 1995.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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