The weekend after Al resigned. USC played at Arizona State. The raucous abuse showered on Jim Jr. by Sun Devil fans tapered off after he doubled in his first at bat. Later, Trojan shortstop Rodney Peete, now a quarterback for the Detroit Lions, told him with a smile, "Don't worry, Campy, I still love you."
"It meant a lot," says Campanis.
Even though he was a third-round pick out of USC, Campanis, who hit .248 with 15 home runs for Jacksonville last season, has made slower progress through the minors than Boone. For one thing, there is a larger crowd in front of Campanis. Dave Valle and Scott Bradley are the primary catchers for the Mariners. Chris Howard is the catcher for the Triple A Calgary Cannons and stands to be promoted before Campanis, who figures to start the year in Jacksonville. Boone, on the other hand, was moved from second base to shortstop early this spring. Mariners coaches say he is likely to be the Cannons' every-day shortstop. Says farm director Jim Beattie, "Bret may have the opportunity [to join the Mariners] this year, and Jim may not."
If that's the way it goes, says Lisa, "we're going to be in the market for a matchbox BMW."
Still, the Campanises are conceding nothing. "You know what they say about catching," says Al. "You're only a foul tip away from a promotion."
Of course, once this friendly rivalry is decided, another will emerge: Which will be baseball's first four-generation family? The Campanises are off to a commanding lead. Last Friday, Lisa gave birth to eight-pound, six-ounce James Alexander Campanis III. "I understand they're going to call him Alex," says the lad's great-grandfather.
The race is on.