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Friday, July 7, 2023

Jim Campanis followed dad to pros, saw 6 seasons, wrote book

Jim Campanis knew where he wanted to be in 1991 - with the Mariners' AAA squad in Calgary, then on in Seattle, The Newport News Daily Press wrote.

But, as he played at high-A Peninsula, Campanis also knew how he would get there, he told The Daily Press.

"It boils down to me at this point," Campanis told The Daily Press. "... But I'm going to work my butt off this time to show Seattle I want to be their No. 1 catcher in the big leagues."

Campanis did move up for 1991, to AA Jacksonville. But, in a career that spanned six seasons, he didn't make it higher.

Campanis' career began in 1988, taken by the Mariners in the third round out of the University of Southern California. Campanis was also credited as Jimmy Campanis.

Campanis' move to the pros followed the footsteps of his father, Jim Campanis, Sr. His grandfather, too, former Dodgers General Manager Al Campanis, who gave the infamous interview on Nightline.

The younger Jim Campanis later wrote a book about growing up in a baseball family and his own career, titled "Born Into Baseball: Laughter and Heartbreak at the Edge of the Show."

Campanis started with the Mariners in 1989 at single-A San Bernardino. He got into 133 games and hit .255, with 11 home runs.

He moved to high-A Peninsula for 1990. He saw 112 games there and hit .250. For 1991, he hit AA Jacksonville and hit .248 over 118 games. 

Campanis spoke with The Associated Press that spring about the help his father had given him, including flying out the previous year to work with him on his swing after a rough patch.

"Dad is really supportive," Campanis told The AP. "He dropped everything and spent four days with me."

Later that summer, Campanis got married on the field. He then went 2 for 3, with a home run, The Los Angeles Times wrote.

Campanis returned to Jacksonville for 89 games in 1992, then 70 more in 1993. He hit .262 and .245.

For 1994, he moved to the Angels system and high-A Lake Elsinore. He saw 53 games and hit .268 to end his career.

Jim Campanis 1990 Peninsula Pilots card, Campanis holding a bat

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,188
Made the Majors:1,378-32.9%
Never Made Majors:2,810-67.1%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:560
10+ Seasons in the Minors:344

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