- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"I had the feeling I had to strike everyone out," he says. "If I was going to be making so much more money, I felt I had to be so much better. It took me a while just to forget the money. To just go out there and pitch."
Campbell would start to warm up in the bullpen and people would throw things at him. His early performances with Boston were so bad that the fan who had painted the sign called him to apologize and invited him to lunch. Campbell said he would go if the fan would give him the sign. "I still have it in the basement somewhere," Campbell says.
That season and the seasons to follow became easier when he simply focused on pitching. He went from the Red Sox to the Chicago Cubs after the contract was finished, then he stopped in St. Louis and Detroit before a sore shoulder finished him in Montreal in 1986. The money? He mostly left that to Harcourt.
The tax laws were different at the time; income was being taxed at more than 50% in Campbell's new bracket. Harcourt talked about various shelters to save as much money as possible from the government. Campbell found he was involved with airplane leasing and software companies. He paid attention, but not enough attention. Wasn't his job to strike out hitters in the late innings? He had left college after one year, then was drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam. He had signed his first baseball contract with a smile and a handshake in a booth at a Denny's restaurant in Pomona, Calif. Not exactly a background for high finance.
So he left things to Harcourt. Deficiency notices from the Internal Revenue Service began to arrive, and Campbell would hand them to his agent. What about this? He says Harcourt would tell him that there was no problem. Two years later, the IRS would call again. Now there were penalty charges added. No problem.
"My wife was the one who said she had a gut feeling that something was wrong here," Campbell says. "Unfortunately, her gut feeling was right."
He estimates he lost as much as $800,000 with Harcourt, who acknowledges that the tax shelters had gone bad. The problems have not ended. An ongoing case with the IRS probably will be settled in the coming year. Campbell might lose as much or more to the government in back taxes as he has lost already. He calls the case a dark cloud that will not go away.
"You can't say, I didn't do it,' because your name is on the papers," he says. "As innocent as I am, I'm still responsible for my affairs. And, yet jeez. Those guys from the IRS can be pretty tough. Did you read what they did with Redd Foxx? Took his house, all his property. His memorabilia. They even came in and took his jewelry off of him."
For the past two years, Campbell has been employed at a marketing firm in Chicago, on commission. His wife, Linda, has worked toward gaining her master's degree. For fun, he started pitching in an amateur baseball league, seven innings, drinking beer in the parking lot after the games. He says his arm felt surprisingly strong. During the winter, he pitched for Winter Haven in the new Senior Professional Baseball League in Florida. The arm still felt strong. He led the league in ERA.
"I made some calls afterward, to see if I could get a contract for a major league training camp," he says, 41 years old and planning to spend the afternoon baby-sitting his three kids and painting a bedroom in his house. "Nobody was interested. I understand. I'm getting old. They're going with the kids. I'm thinking now about Japan. I'm expecting a call today from a guy, as a matter of fact. I think it'd be a good thing, Japan. Get it out of my system. For once and for all."