Clearly this is not the came Mike Campbell from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
This 1988 Topps Card proudly proclaims Mike Campbell as a future star for the Seattle Mariners. On a team that included a lot of young talent like Mike Moore, Mark Langston, Jim Presley and Alvin Davis, a solid young pitcher looked like he was going to be a key member to a growing team.
He would eventually make his mark in Seattle.. and he would do so with frozen treats.
Bear with me.
Campbell was a native of Seattle and went to high school in Bellevue Washington. He looked like he was going to be a local hero for sure when the Mariners drafted him out of the University of Hawaii with the 7th overall pick in the 1985 draft.
The player picked right before him? Barry Bonds. FYI, Rafael Palmeiro, Walt Weiss, Gregg Jefferies and Randy Johnson were all still available in that draft.
At age 22, he won 9 of 10 decisions in Double A Chattanooga. In 1987, he went 15-2 in Triple A Calgary and earned a call up to the majors and was looked upon as one of the bright prospects in the game.
With Dick Williams still managing the Mariners and the team flirting with contention in a weak AL West from the year before, there was some hope in Seattle. Their lineup had power and speed. Langston, Moore, Billy Swift and Scott Bankhead were all considered to be talented pitchers. And Mike Campbell was about to step in and make his mark on the emerging Seattle squad.
Early on, the returns were pretty good for Campbell. He threw a pair of complete games in Apriil and pitched into the 8th three other times through May.
But he would also get clubbed as well. There did not seem to be much of a middle ground. He had several terrific starts through mid June. And yet his ERA was 5.88, reflecting the others games he pitched were total blow outs.
He finished his first full season in the majors with a 6-10 record and a 5.89 ERA.
Injuries and ineffectiveness kept him to only 5 big league starts in 1989. By the end of the year, he was sent packing to Montreal in a deal that involved two of the biggest pitcher names in Seattle Mariners history. He joined Mark Langston heading to Quebec as a group of pitchers including Randy Johnson arrived in Seattle.
He never pitched as an Expo. Between 1989 and 1996, Campbell appeared in 4 games total. He made a relief appearance with the 1992 Rangers and started two games and relieved another for the 1994 San Diego Padres. Tendinitis and multiple surgeries sidelined his can’t miss career.
In 1996, 32 year old Campbell made it back to the majors, making 13 appearances with the Chicago Cubs.
His first Cubs start on June 11, 1996, he threw 7 innings and allowed just 2 runs to earn the win. He won his second start as well. But things went downhill from there. In his final appearance, he didn’t last 4 innings in the second game of a double header against the Pirates.
After bouncing around between independent leagues and Japan, his playing career was over.
Then he made his triumphant return to Seattle.
Joining his fellow Washingtonian and former minor league pitcher Steve Towey, they began to sell something called Shiskaberry’s.
Basically they are fruit on a stick covered in chocolate and other flavors. They began selling them in Seattle and ultimately worked a concession stand at Safeco Field.
A hit in the stadium, they were even featured in the Jumbo Tron videos between videos.
No doubt Mike Campbell had images of making big at Mariners games on the mound, not selling stuff called “Berry Bonds” and “Berry White.”
But hey, give him credit for turning what could have been a sour situation into something very very sweet.
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