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Kroc Denies Bid to Retain Campbell : Padre Owner Says There’s No Chance Announcer Will Return

Padre owner Joan Kroc said Tuesday she has no intention of bringing announcer Dave Campbell back to the club, contrary to published reports.

Newspaper reports published Tuesday suggested Kroc was attempting to “encourage a reconciliation” between Campbell and Dick Freeman, the Padres’ acting president, and indicated there was a chance that Campbell could return.

Kroc, who was out of town last week when Freeman made the decision not to bring Campbell back for a 12th season, said she called Freeman to suggest a meeting with Campbell to resolve differences but nothing more.

“I am totally benign about Dick’s decision,” Kroc said.

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There is absolutely no chance of Campbell returning to the club, according to Freeman.

“The decision was made, and it’s final,” Freeman said Tuesday.

Kroc said she did not want to participate in any decision involving Campbell.

“At the last home game with the Dodgers, Dick (Freeman) asked, ‘What should we do about Dave?’ ” Kroc said. “I said, ‘Dick, now you’re the acting president. I haven’t been privy to any of the discussions. Whatever you do, I’ll back you.’ ”

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In Tuesday’s San Diego Tribune, Kroc was quoted as saying, “Dave has to sit down, and Dick has to hear him out. I’ve got the ball rolling. I believe he (Freeman) at least will give Dave a chance to come back. Maybe they can come to some sort of agreement.”

But Kroc told The Times Tuesday, “I phoned him (Campbell) yesterday. He was extremely upset about his contract not being renewed. As he went on and on, I said, ‘I will do this, I will call Dick. But you have to talk to him.’ ”

Campbell said Tuesday that he talked to Freeman to settle details of his departure but that a meeting was not going to happen and there was no hope of him returning to the club.

“It’s just not going to work,” Campbell said. “We had a half-hour discussion, but he is still adamant about going in a different direction.”

Campbell said he is still “not entirely clear” why he was fired.

“We discussed it, and it was something I did not think merited dismissal,” Campbell said. “Let’s just say it was philosophical differences.”

Freeman also refused to detail the reasons behind Campbell’s dismissal. There has been considerable speculation that Campbell’s contract was not renewed because he often made negative comments about the team during broadcasts.

“It was not related to any type of criticisms he made on the air,” Freeman said. “There were other reasons, and it had to do with our long-term planning.”

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Campbell joined the Padres as an announcer in 1978, teaming with play-by-play man Jerry Coleman. Campbell played professional baseball for eight years, including four for the Padres, from 1970-73. He worked for KCST-TV (Channel 39, now KNSD) and KSDO-AM before joining the Padre announcing team.

Campbell said he has started looking for another job.

“I’m sending tapes out,” he said.


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