The tales of woe go on and on. Campbell, who had a 14-year career with the Twins, Red Sox, Cubs, Phillies, Cardinals and Tigers, says he lost an estimated $800,000 with Harcourt. "I don't like to get going on the subject," he says. "It ruins my whole day." Linda keeps the phone numbers of 10 attorneys on the nightstand next to her bed. "That way," she says, "I can get to them quickly if I need to." She often needs to. The Campbells' tax returns for eight years, dating back to 1978, have been audited. Linda fears that when all the negotiating with the IRS is over, they may owe another $800,000 in back taxes.
Reitz's story is equally sad. He arrived in the majors without even rudimentary knowledge of financial matters. "I was just 21, sitting in the locker room in St. Louis with Jose Cruz, and neither one of us knew how to bank, how to write a check," he says. "We used to cash our paychecks, take what we needed and put the rest of the money in the closet."
Reitz, a onetime Gold Glove third baseman, says he has "no idea" where the $1 million he grossed over the last four years of his career—including a $500,000 buyout of his contract by the Cubs in 1982—has gone. He was more than $90,000 in debt and living with his sister, Judy, in San Jose last season while making $100 a week as a utility in-fielder-bullpen coach for the San Jose Bees of the Class A California League.
Rau, 38, averaged 15 wins a year from 1974 to '78 as a lefthanded starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers before arm and shoulder injuries forced him into early retirement in '82. A farm boy who went on to get a degree in finance from Texas A & M, Rau was one Harcourt client who kept himself, as even Harcourt acknowledges, "extremely well informed."
Most of his money—what's left of it—is tied up in partnerships under audit. Rau says, "I'm scrambling to stay afloat. It's a tedious way of living, waiting, no real direction in life. If we lose the tax case, I go back to baling hay."
Then there's Wise, who won 188 games in his big league career and retired in 1982 with a net worth of $2.2 million. Today he is more than $800,000 in debt and is being forced to sell his dream house in Oregon. Wise supports himself, his wife, Susan, and their two teenage children by working as a minor league pitching instructor for the Astros for $25,000 a year. "We've lived a miserable five years now," he says. "Five bleeding years have taken their toll. Not only on my family but on my life. The stress has been, well, the English suggest a stiff upper lip. but at times"—he starts to shake his head—"you just cry. You just flat cry."
Wise says he has paid five different lawyers to help him with his legal troubles. "You try to put up a front and we have," he says, "but the sheriff and the process servers come to your door in the middle of the night. We never harmed anyone. We never stole, we never tried to hurt anyone.... Well, four years to my pension. I'm looking forward to that."
It may or may not comfort these players that Harcourt isn't doing so well himself. He was recently hit with a $2.5 million summary judgment for a deficiency remaining on five Beech airplanes and says he now earns a "couple hundred" a week working behind the counter at Casa de Liquor in Yorba Linda, Calif., owned by Dahn Inc., of which his wife is president. "I feel compassion for them," he says of his former clients. "But I feel no guilt. They have no idea how much effort I put in."