Jason Heyward: ‘Very Special’ To Win Roy Campanella Award In First Season With Dodgers

Jason Heyward was voted by his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates as the winner of the 18th annual Roy Campanella Award, which is given each year to one player from the team who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher.

Heyward is going to receive the award during a pregame ceremony on Sunday night that will be attended by Campanella’s daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, and grandson, Malcolm Campanella.

“It’s really cool to be recognized by things, especially awards I feel like are about team and pulling everyone in one direction,” Heyward said of being named the 2023 Roy Campanella Award winner.

“When you have your teammates acknowledge you and want to make sure you get recognized for it, it’s really special. Because that’s not my intent. That’s just part of who I am and have always been. I want the best for everyone on and off the field. First year with the team, it’s very, very special.”

Heyward, who is in the midst of a productive season, joins Rafael Furcal (2006), Jamey Carroll (2010) and Freddie Freeman (2022) as the only first-year Dodgers to receive the honor.

Heyward signed a Minor League contract with the Dodgers last offseason after a disappointing finish to his tenure with the Chicago Cubs. The veteran outfielder has enjoyed a resurgent year at the plate while emerging as a valued leader and mentor in the clubhouse.

“I feel like in my family, in my home life, there’s definitely some of that. But I feel like we’re always growing and trying to be a better version of ourselves,” Heyward answered when asked when he learned to become a strong leader.

“I definitely feel like over time, being on a lot of winning teams, before Major League Baseball and getting to this level, just seeing different ways to settle into that and continue to make it about the ones around you.

“I understand as far as results and contributing to a team, I personally have got to do my thing and take pressure off other people. But there’s always more than one way to get that done. I feel like over time, learning through experiences and playing with really good players, it’s helped to learn how to push the right buttons with people.”

Jason Heyward voted Mookie Betts for 2023 Roy Campanella Award

Heyward was first made aware of the Roy Campanella Award by Freeman and revealed he voted for Mookie Betts to win the honor.

“Freddie mentioned it early in the year, but we didn’t really talk about it outside of that. He just said he got his first year with the team, and that was it,” Heyward began.

“I think I voted for Mookie, but I don’t think I turned my vote in. That’s kind of how unaware of this I was. But just in my mind, for him to go out there and play every day, show how attitude reflects leadership, and I play right field, and Mookie to me is one of the best right fielders in this game and has been in both leagues now throughout his career.

“But for him to have a sense of urgency to want to play second base to add to a group, to me, that was the Dodger spirit, being a teammate and also wanting to perfect his craft. So that was my vote.

“But he made me aware I was going to win the award, and I was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ But it was cool to have Doc open it up and share with us what the award is.”

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