Padres Pics #11.

GWYNN.

Tony Gwynn is my all-time favorite baseball player and that can’t be a surprise to anyone reading this blog. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance he was your favorite player too. With the exception of never winning a World Series championship, Gwynn had a storybook career in baseball and I don’t think I’m exaggerating by saying this.

When I first saw this quote, it brought a smile to my face and warmed my heart. You don’t hear professional athletes say things like this, especially with the money and opportunities that are available via free agency. Sometimes I forget how special his career was and I’m reminded of new ways to appreciate him. Gwynn knew what he was doing by staying in San Diego and by staying, he ended up having a baseball career that kids dream of having. I know that I certainly did.

LANE FIELD.

I love all photos related to the Pacific Coast League Padres and this photo of Lane Field from 1940 is no exception. I’ve seen countless photos of Lane Field over the years, but this provides a different view that is entirely new to me.

I’m not 100% certain, but it looks as if the players warming up may be wearing pinstripes. If this is the case, then assuming that the year is correct, this is not a member of the Padres. The PCL Padres did not wear pinstripes between 1939 and 1952. This would mean that the home dugout at Lane Field was along the first-base side of the field.

This leads me to wonder where the home dugout was located in Westgate Park? If it was on the first-base side, then that would mean that both eras of Padres baseball have kept their home dugout on the same side. I’m aware how nerdy it is to even think about this stuff, but hey, this blog is all about the nerdy side of Padres baseball.

OROSCO.

For a period of time around the late 90s and early 2000s, and especially after Tony Gwynn retired, I didn’t pay much attention to professional baseball. With the exception of looking at standings and stats once in awhile, and attending random A’s games, I just didn’t care too much. I was just too preoccupied with skateboarding and playing music at that time in my life. However, there are some things that I missed from that era that I come across now which leaves me scratching my head. This photo is one of them.

Jesse Orosco was one of those guys that every kid my generation was somewhat familiar with. The dude pitched 24 seasons in the big leagues, which lead to him breaking the record for all-time pitching appearances and due to this, I ended up with SO many of his cards over the years.

In 2003, his last season in the big leagues, he played for the Padres, Yankees, and Twins. Prior to finding this photo, I had no recollection of Orosco’s time in San Diego, which is kinda odd because 2003 is when I really started paying attention again. It turns out that the 46-year-old Orosco only logged 25 innings with the Padres before getting sent to the Yankees in July. His era at the time of the deal was 7.56, so I think it’s safe to say he was done. Still, I thought it was cool when I discovered that he was a Padre for a short period of time in the twilight of his career.

My Favorite Padres Baseball Cards From My Childhood.

Like many people, one of my first real introductions to the game of baseball was via baseball cards. When I was a kid, around 2nd and 3rd grade, it was almost an epidemic. It seems as if EVERY little boy in my school and neighborhood seemed to catch baseball card fever; even those who didn’t seem to like or play the game. It was just the “cool” thing to do. I stopped collecting cards around the end of junior high (approx. 1994), but I still have my collection all packed away safely in boxes.

When thinking of an idea for a new post, it crossed my mind to do a list of my favorite Padres cards from my childhood and share thoughts and memories related to them. Yes, it’s kinda nerdy, but this whole blog is essentially about the nostalgic (and often nerdy) side of Padres baseball, so I’m ok with that. With that said, I look forward to receiving feedback and seeing everyone else’s favorite Padres cards. I’m certain that some of you will bring some to my attention that I forgot about over the years.

Steve Garvey 1987 Topps.

I’ve never been quite sure why I’ve always loved this card. Maybe because ’87 Topps is my favorite card set of all-time? Maybe it’s Steve Garvey looking super suave in his Padres brown? Maybe it’s the unconventional pose? Either way, it was one of the earliest cards I remember seeing and it always stuck with me. I still think it’s pretty sweet.

Somewhat related, even though I was pretty young, I remember knowing that there was something “weird” about Garvey that lead me to believe I shouldn’t be a big fan of his? Maybe I saw something on the news about his affairs or saw a “Steve Garvey Is Not My Padre” bumper sticker or something? Maybe a family member said something? It could have been simply the fact that he was known as a Dodger and not a Padre? Either way, at an early age, I took his time as a Padre with a grain of salt. Over the years, I’ve found this to be silly and really appreciate his time in San Diego. Hell, I even used him in my logo for this blog! Still, I’d love to get a “Steve Garvey Is Not My Padre” shirt one day.

Tony Gwynn & Benito Santiago Padres Leaders 1988 Topps.

When I first discovered baseball, Tony Gwynn and Benito Santiago were essentially gods to me. They were the faces of the organization and I thought there was no one cooler than those two guys. When I came across this Padres team leader card in a 1988 pack of Topps, my head about exploded. Gwynn AND Santiago on the same card? Still, when I look at it, I get stoked. Part of that surely has to do with how amazing their uniforms are, though.

Sandy Alomar Jr. 1989 Fleer.

Before becoming solidified big leaguers, I remember my dad telling me, to keep an eye on Roberto and Sandy Alomar. From that moment on, I was an Alomar super-fan and when the brothers broke into the big leagues and I started getting my hands on their cards, I was incredibly excited. There was something about this 1989 Fleer card that I just loved. Besides the fact that it was his rookie card, I loved that he’s (obviously) wearing the brown that I adored, has a smile on his face, and is in the squat for the photographer. If you ask me, this is baseball card perfection.

Joey Cora 1990 Donruss.

I thought Joey Cora was going to be a long-time Padre, but it was not meant to be. This assumption was based on nothing, whatsoever, besides the fact that I had a ton of his cards while he was in the organization and I took a liking to him. Plus his name was Joey, and that’s pretty cool, right? Unfortunately, he ended up only playing parts of three seasons in San Diego, but he did go on to have a solid career in the big leagues with other teams, including an All-Star season with the Mariners in 1997. Still, I’ll always think of him as a Padre.

I think anyone who grew up with baseball cards in this era would agree that 1990 Donruss was a terrible set. They were sold EVERYWHERE, aesthetically they were underwhelming, and I feel like the packs of cards often came warped inside the pack. Still, I loved this card. Besides the fact that Cora looks like a little leaguer on the front, the BACK mentioned that he was STABBED during the 1986 season and missed 8 weeks. As a kid, this absolutely blew my mind. I even remember talking to my mom about it and asking how he survived? In my head, being stabbed meant certain death and Cora was a total badass for surviving this. You can read about the incident HERE, thanks to the biggest Joey Cora fan on earth, Joe Lanek from Gaslamp Ball.

Tony Gwynn 1986 Topps.

1986 was over a year before I fell in love with baseball and started collecting cards, but this Tony Gwynn card was one of my favorites. This is due to the fact that it was one of the first cards I remember retroactively acquiring. 1986 seemed like an incredibly long time before my baseball emergence came to be, so this card seemed very “vintage” to me at the time. Plus it featured my favorite player, on my favorite team, so naturally, I fell in love with it.

Larry Bowa 1988 Topps.

This may seem like an odd choice for a favorite card, but for some reason, I was fascinated with it. I have no explanation for this, but I do remember thinking that the card was quite vibrant looking and that Larry Bowa looked young for a manager. The only manager I was probably familiar with at that point was Sparky Anderson, who seemed to be as old as time. I remember being bummed when I heard that Bowa was fired early in the 1988 season. I couldn’t understand why anyone would do such a thing. He seemed so cool to me.

Bruce Bochy 1988 Topps.

Much like the Larry Bowa card above, I also thought this card was very colorful and vibrant. In addition to this, I thought Bruce Bochy looked exactly what a baseball player is supposed to look like: grizzled, determined and wearing a cool uniform. I remember reading the back of this card and seeing that he was born in France and that fascinating me, due to my interest in geography at a young age. Plus it just seemed unreal that someone born in France would wind up in the big leagues.

It’s kind of odd, Bochy has already been in San Francisco for a decade, but I still think of him as a Padre, much like I do with Tim Flannery. Maybe I should get over that one day…

Ted Williams 1992 Upper Deck.

Anyone that knows me or reads my blogs, knows that I’m a sucker for the old Pacific Coast League. Something about the classic PCL just gets my nerdy baseball juices flowing. As I’ve mentioned here and on 90 Feet of Perfection, I remember my parents and grandmother telling me about going to Padres games back when they were a minor league team. I didn’t quite understand what they meant until I was a bit older, but the stories seemed cool to me and when Upper Deck released this Ted Williams card in 1992, I remember just looking at it in confusion and excitement.

I obviously knew who Ted Willams was at this point, but I had no idea that he played for the minor league Padres. When I came across this card, I remember squinting at the photo to make sure my eyes were not deceiving me. I thought there was NO way that Upper Deck would feature a Padres image from an era that I only heard about through family members. And Ted Williams playing for them was just too much for my young brain to comprehend.

Tony Gwynn 1992 Topps Stadium Club.

A close up of my baseball hero wearing the Oakley sunglasses that he helped popularize? Of course, I was going to love this card! For some reason, this card just really made me want to play baseball. The reflection in his sunglasses was interesting to me and it made me wanna be out taking BP.

I remember reading articles in Spring Training one year about Gwynn switching from traditional flip-down sunglasses to modern Oakley sunglasses. For some reason, it was a big deal and I was filled with a bit of pride that “my guy” was the first to do it. I could be wrong, but I believe that some old school baseball people were not too excited about them? Either way, this card is still awesome.

Padres Four Corners 1993 Upper Deck.

What can I say about this card that any other Padres fan from my generation didn’t already think? It was awesome and sparked optimism for a kid who only knew of the Padres as a being a losing organization. For a moment in time, it seemed like San Diego was stacking studs and it seemed as if a golden age of Padres baseball was on the horizon. Well, Tom Werner quickly shot that down, with an infamous fire sale that drained the organization of much of its talent. It’s still a bit saddening, but at least we will always have this awesome card featuring Gary Sheffield, Phil Plantier, Tony Gwynn, and Fred McGriff. Oh yeah, while they were not brown, those orange and blue uniforms look pretty damn sweet.

AND MY NUMBER ONE ALL-TIME FAVORITE CARD:

Tony Gwynn 1983 Fleer.

Like many people reading this, I pretty much worshiped Tony Gwynn as a kid. I had to get my hands on anything and everything that had Gwynn’s likeness on it, and this obviously meant his baseball cards. Up until 5th grade, the one Gwynn-related item that escaped me was one of his rookie cards. To me, it was the holy grail and the idea of owning one seemed like a far-fetched dream. I didn’t have the patience to save my allowance and spend it all on one item, so I usually spent my money on various, less expensive baseball card and comic book purchases.

Well, when Christmas of my 5th-grade year rolled around, my mom asked me what I wanted and my number one item was a Tony Gwynn rookie card. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s ALL I wanted. I didn’t get my hopes up, though, because my mom played me good and let it be known that it would be hard to get, or too expensive, or some other excuse that escapes me at the moment. Either way, I believed her, and by the time Christmas came around, I gave up hope that I’d get the card. Well, what do you know? My mom came through and surprised me with the card! I was so happy that I got teary eyed as I held my 1983 Fleer Tony Gwynn rookie card.

This is easily one of the most memorable moments from my childhood. I can’t explain the card’s sentimental value, but to be honest, it doesn’t have a lot to do with baseball or Tony Gwynn, due to my mother passing away when I was in 12th grade. To this day, it reminds me of her and for that reason, this is my all-time favorite baseball card.

All-Star Game Weekend 2016.

Back in July of last year, my brother and I made the trek to attend the All-Star Game festivities in San Diego. I filled my trip by attending MLB Fanfest (twice), visiting the chaos that was the All-Star Game Street Fair, and going to both the Futures Game and Home Run Derby. In addition to this, I attended the grand opening of the AleSmith Tony Gwynn Museum, which was pretty amazing and possibly my favorite part of the weekend. Needless to say, I was a bit burnt out by the time Tuesday rolled around and I decided to watch the All-Star Game on television.

Since then, I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a post about the trip and including some photos, but it just never materialized as it seemed a bit unnecessary. Well, I recently figured out how to create a slideshow and this sparked my interest in sharing my photos from the weekend. These photos are nothing special and were all taken on my iPhone, but still, I figure that some of you will appreciate them – regardless if it’s half a year late. With that said, enjoy the photos and the celebration that was San Diego baseball!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Padres Pics #10.

WINFIELD VS. RYAN.
nolan-ryan-dave-winfeldDuring a 1980 game against the Astros, Dave Winfield was drilled by Nolan Ryan and Winny decided to take matters into his own hands by charging the mound. According to Winfield, Ryan “had brushed him back twice in the game with inside pitches.” I guess that was more than enough for Winfield, and according to all mentions of the incident, he got the best of Ryan by connecting with the punch he’s ready to throw in the above photo.

I don’t believe there were any other physical altercations between Ryan and Winfield during their careers, but I do know that in the 1985 All-Star Game, Ryan threw high and tight to Winfield, before giving up a hard hit single up the middle. Winfield later admitted to trying to hit Ryan with the ball; but has since publicly said they are now friends, due to being members of the Hall of Fame. 

(Image Source: Associated Press)

GWYNN’S DEBUT.
tony-gwynn-first-game-ticketTony Gwynn made his debut on July 19th, 1982 in a game against the Phillies at Jack Murphy Stadium. This ticket, owned by Fred O. Rogers, is from that historic day. I wonder if anyone in attendance that Monday night had the slightest idea that Gwynn would go down as one of the greatest hitters of all time and become the face of the Padres franchise for over two decades? Probably not. Also, the images of the Friar and Jack Murphy Stadium on the ticket make this ticket nearly perfect. Now only if the ticket was brown instead of red…

(Image Source: Fred O. Rogers via “Baseball 1857 through 1993“)

1978 ALL STAR GAME.
1978-all-star-game-san-diego
A snapshot into the National League dugout during the 1978 All-Star Game, which was held at Jack Murphy Stadium. I love the fact that Padres teammates, Dave Winfield and Rollie Fingers are sitting next to each other This photo was snapped and shared by the Padres former VP of Marketing, Andy Strasburg. This is what he had to say about it:

“When the Padres hosted the 1978 MLB All-Star Game, one of my responsibilities was the pre-game ceremony. I was down on the field directing traffic that included player introductions. Moments before Padres public address announcer John DeMott intros each player I whirl around and snap a photo of the players (Willie, Jack, Winny and Rollie) who have yet to put their game face on.”

This is such an awesome image to capture and memory to have. Since leaving the Padres, Strasburg has put out two books, “Baseball Fantography” and “Fantography – San Diego Baseball,” which I strongly suggest purchasing, as they are filled with many interesting and candid baseball-related images.

(Image Source: Andy Strasburg)

Goodbye, Jerry Coleman.

Following Jerry Coleman’s death back in January of 2014, I posted this on 90 Feet of Perfection. Today marks 3 years since The Colonel passed away, so I’ve decided to share it again here on The 5.5 Hole, as it seems relevant to the blog and is a fitting memorial. I think I speak for everyone reading this when I say that I still miss Jerry in the booth. Padres games haven’t been the same since he left.

Jerry Coleman Tribute Image

Last Sunday afternoon, I received a text message from a friend in San Diego that simply said, “The Colonel died.” Nothing more, nothing less. Immediately, I had to google it to see if this was indeed true and when I saw the reports slowly start to pour in, my heart sank. Someone I’ve admired, looked up to, and who has captured my imagination on many levels for the majority of my life had passed away. It may seem silly saying this, but in a way, it felt like I’d lost a family member. This feeling of loss has only grown since I’ve had time to reflect on my memories of Jerry Coleman.

I often take issue with the word “hero” but I look at Jerry Coleman and that’s the only word I can use to describe him. Looking at just his life in Baseball, which lasted over 70 years, I think it’s safe to say that he had one of the most impressive resumes imaginable. I certainly don’t want this post to be a stat and accomplishment driven tribute, but these are the facts and they paint a picture of how relevant Jerry Coleman was to the world of Baseball. If you were to add his military accomplishments, which lead to him being the only Major League player to see combat in 2 wars and resulted in his playing career getting put on hold both times, this list would be much longer:

-In 1939, he was a bat-boy for the San Francisco Seals of the old Pacific Coast League.
-From 1942 to 1957, he spent his entire playing career in the Yankees organization, where he played on 6 World Series teams.
-Placed 3rd in the 1949 Rookie of the Year voting.
-In 1950, he was voted to the All-Star Game and won the World Series MVP award.
-From 1958 to 1960, he worked in the Yankees front office.
-In 1960, he began his broadcasting career, where he did the CBS MLB game of the week.
-In 1963, he began his 7 year tenure as part of the Yankees broadcast team.
-In 1970, became part of the California Angels broadcast team.
-In 1972, became the voice of the San Diego Padres, which lasted over 40 years.
-In 1980, left the broadcast booth to manage the Padres for 1 season.
-In 2005, was honored with the Ford C. Frick Award inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
-In 2007, was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
-In 2007, was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.
-In 2012, in honor of “Jerry Coleman Day” in San Diego, a statue was built and unveiled in his honor at Petco Park.

Jerry Coleman passed away at the age of 89, yet as anyone familiar with the Colonel knew, he had to be the youngest 89-year-old around as he was still quite active in both the booth and Padres organization. He had the youthful exuberance of a man much younger than him. He was still physically able, sharp, funny, and it was apparent to anyone who listened that he was still very much in love with the game of Baseball. An irrational side of myself honestly thought that Jerry would be around forever due to these reasons. He did not seem like a man approaching 90 years old and that’s a hard pill to swallow due to the fact that Jerry Coleman’s death was a result of a fall he had in December. Not due to age, disease, or whatever mother nature has in store for most people in their golden years. Due to this, I’ll always wonder how long we could have had Jerry Coleman? I’m convinced that some great years were stolen from us.

I associate Jerry Coleman with my love of the game. I’ve watched and listened to Padres games since I was a kid and Jerry Coleman has always been the one constant in that organization through my entire life. Along with Tony Gwynn, there’s not a person involved in the game of Baseball that’s meant as much to my family and myself and that’s the honest truth. I’ll always associate family with Jerry Coleman and to this day, my dad still quotes Jerry’s trademark “Oh Doctor, You can hang a star on that baby!” If I ever have children, I know that I’ll continue this tradition and while telling them of great (and not so great) Padres of the past, much like my parents and Grandmother did with me. Rest assured, Jerry Coleman will be at the top of that list.

To some, Baseball may be just another corporate sport filled with millionaire athletes; and this may be true on a level. However, there’s more to Baseball below this surface and that’s why the game is special. Jerry represented this as he reminded me of the raw and genuine love of the game that many of us discover as children. He played in the Golden Age of Baseball and was one of the last remaining people left from that era who was still involved and relevant. I don’t like to generalize and disregard other generations, but the players from the Golden Age brought something to the table not found in generations since.

While watching and reading tributes to Jerry this last week, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t shed a tear. When spring training games start up again late next month, I won’t be surprised if this happens again. Baseball lost someone very special last Sunday and I feel as if I lost someone special as well. Jerry Coleman, you were a good one and will be missed by many.

In typical 90 Feet of Perfection fashion, I pay tribute to Jerry Coleman with some photos I both enjoy and find interesting. I hope you do as well.

Jerry Coleman Billy MartinJerry and Billy Martin relax at second base during a 1950’s spring training. Coleman and Martin are two of my favorite players in Baseball history for various reasons and the fact that they both came from the Bay area certainly contributes to this. Although Coleman was almost 4 years older than Martin and they came from different sides of the Bay, I’ve often wondered if they knew of each other, or crossed paths prior to playing with the Yankees?

Jerry Coleman Padres Manager'In 1980, Coleman left the confines of the broadcasting booth to manage the team. Legend has it that Coleman took the job after the Padres promised that he could return to his job in the booth after his tenure was over. The Friars only went 73-89 that season, but up to that point, it was the best record the club had accomplished in its 11-year existence.

In my opinion, the Padres should retire his #2 that he wore that season solely based on his significance to the team. Everth Cabrera currently wears the number for the team.

Jerry Coleman HOFJuly 31st, 2005. Jerry Coleman during what he described as one of the greatest days of his life. He ended his acceptance speech with the line “On this golden day here in Cooperstown, a journey that started 63 years ago, I feel that finally, finally, I’ve come home. Thank you.” I will always remember this fondly due to the fact that I felt like one of “my” guys made it to Cooperstown.

Dave Winfield may have gone into Cooperstown as a Padre, but not without some controversy, and Tony Gwynn was still a couple years away. Coleman may have played for the Yankees, but he was Padre through and through and it was quite special to see him honored with the Ford C. Frick Award. To watch a video of his induction speech, click HERE.

Jerry Coleman double play

“The best second baseman I ever saw on the double play.”Casey Stengel on Jerry Coleman

Jerry Coleman in Booth

I’ll never hear Jerry call a Padres game again and this is saddening. Yes, he didn’t do as many games as he used to, but the fact that I always knew he was there and still calling games, regardless of how often, was comforting.

I came across THIS video of Coleman’s last game in the booth and it made me both happy and sad. Andy Masur shared the booth with Jerry for what was the final home game of this last season, which resulted in the Padres beating the Diamondbacks on a walk-off single in the 11th inning by Alexi Amarista. Jerry finished the game by piping in with an ecstatic “What a finish!” This captured his childlike enthusiasm for the game of Baseball in a very heartwarming way.