Padres May Put Monday in the Booth

Times Staff Writer

The Padres winter-long search for a No. 2 broadcaster might have an ending as surprising as Dave Campbell’s firing.

Indications are that the Padres are close to signing Rick Monday, the former major league outfielder whose most recent broadcast work has been as a Dodger commentator on cable television and a sports anchor for Los Angeles’ KTTV (Ch. 11).

Monday said he met with Padre officials Wednesday in San Diego and that his agent, Richard Lawrence, was involved in contract discussions with the Padres on Thursday. Monday said Thursday there was a “strong possibility” for agreement.

“I’ve got this fishing boat in Marina del Rey, and there’s a strong possibility I’m going to be looking for dock space down south,” Monday said from his home in Los Angeles.


When asked if a hiring were imminent, Jim Winters, the Padre broadcasting director, said, “No comment.” Lawrence said he would not respond to any questions until today.

The latest developments coincide with the ending of negotiations with Chicago Cub announcer Dewayne Staats, the third of three original finalists that could not reach agreement with the Padres. Gary Thorne, who joined the Chicago White Sox, and Gary Cohen, who joined the New York Mets, were the others.

“Money had a lot to do with it,” said Staats, who was asking for a No. 1 announcer’s salary of around $200,000 because of the Padres’ expressed desire to groom the new hire to eventually replace the current No. 1, Jerry Coleman. The Padres were offering only around $120,000, the current rate for a No. 2.

A source said the breakup with Staats convinced the Padres to stop pursuing a potential No. 1 and instead hire an analyst. The source said the Padres have decided not to worryabout Coleman’s replacement until closer to the 1991 season and the end of his 3-year contract. One of the reasons given for firing Dave Campbell in October, after 11 seasons as Coleman’s backup, was that he would not have been a suitable replacement.

“They have readjusted their thinking,” the source said. “They want to hire an analyst, probably an ex-player, and worry about replacing Jerry in a couple of years.”

Enter Monday. Known for a smooth voice and competent delivery that inspires neither high praise nor great criticism, Monday would be a considered a safe choice.

After finishing his 19-year major league career with the Dodgers in 1984--a career that included three World Series appearances and two All-Star games--Monday joined the Dodgers’ cable television team as a play-by-play and color man, doing about 20 games a year. He also worked the pregame show for road games broadcast on KTTV and acted as the station’s sports anchor.

Following the 1987 season, he was deemed good enough to be considered as a replacement for retiring Jerry Doggett on the Dodger radio network. Don Drysdale eventually got the job. Monday currently is out of broadcasting; his cable contract has expired and a new one is being negotiated. He also recently left KTTV in a contract dispute over the station’s demand that he work weekends.

He said from where he sits, San Diego would be an ideal spot.

“It seems like a great job, in a good city, with a good team,” Monday said. “The Padres remind me a little of the old A’s (Oakland, where Monday played from 1969-71). They’ve got great young talent sprinkled with veterans, they are a team that is catching the eyes of everyone. It would be fun to be a part of it.”

Considering that Monday grew up in Santa Monica, it should be no surprise which broadcaster he emulates.

“There’s only one Vin Scully,” said Monday, who said he approaches a game the way he would approaches a book--"Every game has a beginning, a middle and an end, and every game as a story to tell.”

Padre Notes

The Padres announced entire 1988 schedule Thursday. If they are to be pennant contenders, they are in for an interesting finish. While they play West Division rival Cincinnati just three times in the first 2 months, and don’t even see the Dodgers until June 19, they end the season with 9 of their final 12 games against those teams. . . . The season opens Monday April 3 at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium against San Francisco. The last time the Padres opened at home, in 1984, they won the pennant . . . Padre Manager Jack McKeon said he has talked trade this week with the usual two teams--Atlanta (outfielder Dale Murphy) and New York Yankees (third baseman Mike Pagliarulo)--but there is still nothing imminent. . . . The Padres have the distinction of having baseball’s first arbitration filing--shortstop Dickie Thon, who filed Thursday even though he has already demanded a trade and must be accommodated by March 15 or become a free agent. “We’re just doing this a precaution,” said Thon’s agent, Dan Grigsby. “Hopefully, there will be a trade worked out before we actually have to go to a hearing.” Thon made $300,000 counting incentives last year and responded with a .264 average and 1 homer and 18 RBIs in part-time play. Although the Padres have six players eligible for arbitration, they will will likely only have one come even close to a hearing: pitcher Dennis Rasmussen, who made $475,000 and went 14-4 for the Padres after coming over from Cincinnati June 8. He could be seeking close to the $1 million currently topped by the Padres other top starters, Bruce Hurst and Eric Show.