Following his junior year, in which Bret bounced back to bat .313, the Mariners selected him in the fifth round. Bret, who had expected to be taken in the first or second round, was crushed.
The consensus is that Bret has done a lot of growing up since then. "He used that disappointment as fuel," says Southern Cal coach Mike Gillespie. Indeed, if the decline of the helmet-throwing tantrums for which he was famous at USC is any barometer, Boone has matured appreciably. Despite entering professional baseball two years after his former USC teammate, Bret has since caught up with Jim. They were also teammates—and Southern League All-Stars at their respective positions—at Double A Jacksonville last season.
So who'll win the race to The Show? The word around the Mariners camp is that Bret and Jim have made a small wager. Any truth to that? "No, not really," says Bret, smiling beatifically. Then Suzi Riggins, Bret's girlfriend, chimes in. "You mean the BMW?" she says, oblivious to Bret's clenched teeth. "What I'd like to know is, how is the loser going to be able to afford it?"
"I think the loser should get the car," says Jim's wife, Lisa, "as a consolation."
Jim and Lisa would love some new wheels. They had just moved into their first home, in Tempe, Ariz., and Lisa was due any minute to deliver the child they had conceived, as far as they can tell, on their honeymoon, which consisted of private moments stolen on a six-game road trip last July through several of the quaint cities of the Southern League.
Jim had developed a powerful crush on Lisa in the spring of 1989. She was an auditor at the Tempe Comfort Inn, where the Mariners minor leaguers stayed during spring training. While always pleasant to Jim, she had a personal guideline—never date a ballplayer—and had no intention of making an exception for him. After three weeks of being spurned daily, Jim asked his father, who was visiting, to intercede. Jim Sr., who is the general manager of a car dealership in Fullerton, Calif., marshaled all his salesmanship on his son's behalf. Finally, "as a courtesy to his father," Lisa agreed to go out for coffee with Jim. "I didn't have nearly as bad a time as I expected to," she says.
They were engaged eight months later. When choosing the date and site of the wedding proved difficult—the families couldn't agree—the couple made an announcement: "We're getting married on the field. Come if you want." So they were hitched, Bull Durham-style, at home plate before a game at Jacksonville's Wolfson Park on June 30. Jim hit a home run in the game. His best man, former USC roommate Dave Latter, came on in relief for the Huntsville Stars and got the loss; Boone, who was an usher, had the game-winning hit. Says Jim, "Dave hates it when I tell that story."
And now Lisa and Jim are homeowners. "There she is," said Jim, showing the place off to a visitor one recent afternoon. "I would show you the inside, but we're locked out." Lisa—and the house keys—were at the doctor. Then Jim had a brainstorm. Circling around back, he got down on all fours and wriggled through the dog door.
"That's the difference between him and me," says Jim Sr., who is known as Big Jim by the Campanises. "I'd have kicked the door in, then gone out and bought a new lock. Jimmy is smart."
Al, who had been a member of the Dodger front office for 40 years, also was thought to be a bright light—until he made his fateful appearance on Nightline during Jim's sophomore season in college and uttered his now infamous suggestion that blacks "may not have some of the necessities" to hold management and front-office positions. Within 48 hours he had been forced to resign as the Dodger general manager.