Padres Pics #4.

GWYNN.Tony Gwynn First HitOn July 19th, 1982, the Padres played the Phillies at Jack Murphy Stadium. Batting 5th in the lineup and starting in centerfield was a youngster making his major league debt by the name of Tony Gwynn. In his first major league at-bat, he hit a sacrifice fly against Mike Krukow in the bottom of the first inning. Later in the game, he got his first major league hit with a double to centerfield against Sid Monge in the bottom of the 8th inning. The above photo captures this historic moment.

.1969.
1969 Padres Original Lineup
The San Diego Padres Opening Day lineup for for their first regular season game, which took place on April 8th, 1969. The game took place at Jack Murphy Stadium (then known as San Diego Stadium) and the Friars beat the Astros, 2 to 1.

Here’s the who’s featured in the photo (L to R): Rafael Robles, Roberto Pena, Tony Gonzalez, Ollie Brown, Bill Davis, Larry Stahl, Ed Spiezio, Chris Cannizzaro, and starting pitcher Dick Selma and manager Preston Gomez to the right. (Photo Source: The San Diego Union Tribune)

A few fun facts about this game and the 1969 team:
1) This first Padre homerun was hit by Ed Spiezio in the bottom of the 5th inning of this game. Spiezio is the father of former big leaguer, Scott Spiezio.

2) Former Padre star and team leader in homeruns for the 1969 team, Nate Colbert did not start the game. He entered as a defensive substitution at first base in the 5th inning and finished the game without an at-bat.

3) The lone All-Star representing the inaugural Padres in 1969 was catcher Chris Cannizzaro. Honestly, how he was an All-Star that season baffles me. In any case, besides being an original member of the MLB Padres, he was also an original member of the Mets back in 1962. Kinda cool.

(Photo Source: The San Diego Union Tribune)

PEAVY.
Jake Peavy vs Alfonso Soriano
On June 15th, 2007, Cubs slugger Alfonso Soriano hit a homerun off of Padres starting pitcher, David Wells. Soriano pimped it out the box and actually trotted backwards for a bit down the first baseline. Needless to say, the Padres were not happy with this and Jake Peavy let it be known with the above quote, which I LOVED. I will forever be a fan of Peavy for his days in San Diego and can say he’s still easily my favorite pitcher in the game.

The following day, Chris Young hit Cubs first baseman (and former Padre) Derrek Lee in the 4th inning and a brawl ensued. If you’ve never seen the video, I suggest checking it out HERE. The 5’8 Marcus Giles pushing the 6’10 Chris Young out of danger is quite amusing.

Bridging the Gap: The PCL Padres & MLB Padres (Part 2).

In part two of “Bridging the Gap: The PCL Padres & MLB Padres,” I share those who have a connection to both the PCL and MLB Padres via managing or coaching. This list is solely based on my personal research, so it’s quite possible I could be overlooking someone. Much like part one of this project, I’ll update this post for reference reasons if it turns out this is the case.

Whitey Wietelmann
Whitey Wietelmann PadresWhitey Wietelmann is a name that I hope most Padres fans are somewhat familiar with. In some ways, Wietelmann was “Mr. Padre” prior to Tony Gwynn due his years spent with the team in different capacities and his love for Padres baseball. Wietelmann played parts of nine seasons in the big leagues with both the Boston Braves/Bees and Pirates and after his big league career ended, he found himself in the Pacific Coast League. After one season with the Sacramento Solons, he found himself in San Diego with the PCL Padres in 1949, where he played until 1952. Wietelmann fell in love with the city San Diego and decided to move there. He never left.

After his playing days ended, Wietelmann was hired as a coach for the PCL team from 1957 to 1958, then from 1960 to 1965, and again in 1968. After MLB granted San Diego an expansion team in 1969, Wietelmann joined the big league staff as the bullpen coach, where he stayed for an entire decade. Even after 1979, Wietelmann still stayed active in the Padres organization through the early 1990s as an advisor, handyman/assistant equipment manager, and even a clubhouse cook. For this, he was dubbed “Mr. Indispensable,” and was a beloved member of the San Diego Padres. 

Three fun facts about Whitey:
1) He threw out the ceremonial first pitch of Game 4 of the 1984 NLCS against the Cubs. As you all know, this was the Garvey homerun game.

2) Wietelmann kept a scrapbook collection of every single MLB Padres box score, from their inaugural season of 1969 until 1993. The collection of scrapbooks is now taken care of by the San Diego SABR Baseball Research Center and continues to be updated to this day. 

3) Curious as to who Tony Gwynn got his famous #19 from? Search no farther than Whitey Wietelmann. Whitey wore #19 as a coach for both a PCL Padres and MLB Padres. After his days as a uniformed staff member ended, long time Padres equipment Manager Ray Peralta got “permission” from Whitey to assign the number to Gwynn. In fact, before Gwynn’s first major league game in 1982 against the Phillies, it was Whitey who physically brought him his new jersey. According to Tony, Whitey informed him that only a few players had worn #19, so don’t disgrace it. Gwynn said he was just happy that it was lower than #53, his spring training number. Ten years later Tony asked Whitey how was he doing and he responded by saying “Yeah, kid, you’re doing all right.” 

Larry Bowa
Larry Bowa Padres Manager
I assume most people who read this are familiar with Larry Bowa. He’s still quite involved with baseball and is currently the bench coach for the Phillies. For me though, I’ll always think of him as a Padre due to the fact that he was the Manager of the team when I first became interested in baseball in 1987/1988. In fact, I loved THIS card as a kid and still think of the Padres teams from that era quite fondly. Besides managing the MLB team, Bowa spent a quick minute in San Diego in 1966 as a player, during the team’s time as the AAA affiliate of the Phillies.

A cool sidenote: Although I’ve never read it, his book “Bleep: Larry Bowa Manages,” which he wrote with Barry Bloom, features the manager in his Padres uniform.

Deacon Jones
Deacon Jones San Diego Padres
George William “Deacon” Jones played for the PCL Padres in 1960, during the team’s short time as the AAA affiliate of the White Sox. Although he only played in the big leagues for small parts of three seasons, he spent parts of 11 seasons in the minor leagues, where he was a notable power hitting prospect in the White Sox system, until a shoulder injury derailed his career. Jones came back to San Diego as the hitting coach for the MLB team from 1984 to 1987, serving under Managers Dick Williams, Steve Boros and the above mentioned Larry Bowa.

At the age of 81, Jones is still involved in baseball, working in the Sugar Land Skeeters organization, a team in the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

Dick Sisler
Dick Sisler San Diego PadresSisler was an outfielder and first basemen for the Padres from 1954 to 1956, during the classic era of the Pacific Coast League. Even though it was near the end of his playing career (he hung up spikes after the 1958 season), his three seasons for the Friars were solid. In fact, he was a pretty solid player in general and was even an All-Star with the Phillies in 1950. Sisler eventually came back to sunny San Diego as a hitting/first base coach for MLB Padres during the 1975 and 1976 seasons, under manager John McNamara. However McNamara is is best known as the manager who essentially blew the 1986 World Series for the Red Sox.

Bob Skinner
Bob Skinner San Diego Padres
Despite having an impressive career as a player where he was an All-Star, Bob Skinner never actually played for the Padres at any point. However, he did manage the PCL team for two seasons (1967-1968), during their time as the AAA affiliate of the Phillies. He was later hired as the hitting coach/third base coach for the MLB Padres, where he stayed from 1970 to 1973, and joined the team again for the 1977 season.

Skinner actually has one win under his belt as a manager for the Padres, where I assume he filled in on an interim basis or during a suspension.

Jim Snyder
Jim Snyder Padres
Jim Snyder served as the bench coach for the MLB Padres from 1991 to 1992, serving under both Greg Riddoch and Jim Riggleman. But long before Snyder came to San Diego to coach the MLB team, he played for the PCL team in 1960, during their time as an affiliate of the White Sox. Unfortunately, that’s really all I have on him worth mentioning.

Padres Pics #3.

SNYDER.
Duke Snider San Diego Padres
Duke Snider was an announcer for the Padres from their inaugural season of 1969 until 1971. This photo captures the former Dodgers great in a Padres uniform during the team’s first spring training in Yuma, Arizona. As a huge fan of baseball history, I like this photo a lot…even though I’m aware of how weird and wrong it is. With that said, I’d LOVE to own that jacket.

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GARVEY.
Steve Garvey 1984 All-Star Game

Tony Gwynn, Goose Gossage and Steve Garvey all represented the Padres in the 1984 All-Star Game. Gwynn and Garvey were both starters and had a hit apiece, while Gossage closed the game with a save. This photo from the second inning captures Garvey successfully picking off Chet Lemon of the Tigers.

You can watch the game HERE. Gwynn leads off for the National League and his first at-bat starts at around 17:05, his second at-bat is at 49:55 and unfortunately, I believe his third at-bat (where gets a hit) is cut off. Garvey putting the tag on Lemon is at 37:00 and Goose enters the game at 1:52:23.
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JACK MURPHY STADIUM.
Jack Murphy Stadium 1984 World Series
If I get down on the Padres and their lack of success, I can always look at this photo of Jack Murphy Stadium and be reminded that the team has been to the Fall Classic before. While I obviously miss the team being in the postseason, I feel like this photo makes me miss Jack Murphy just as much. Yeah it kinda turned into a dump, but I loved baseball there.

Padres Pics #2.

GWYNN.
1984 NLCS Gwynn SutcliffeIn what is one of the greatest moments in San Diego sports history, Steve Garvey hit a two run walk-off home run against Cubs closer Lee Smith in Game Four of the 1984 NLCS. I recently came across this photo of Tony Gwynn ecstatically rounding third base while Smith exits the field. Needless to say, I was delighted as I had never seen it before. Image Source: Chicago Tribune
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WINFIELD.
Winfield Pavilion 1978 All-Star Game
The 1978 All-Star Game was held at Jack Murphy Stadium and both Rollie Fingers and Dave Winfield represented the Friars. During Winfield’s time in the big leagues, his foundation ran the “Winfield Pavilion Program,” where’d he provide tickets to young baseball fans. During the 1978 Midsummer Classic, he ran into a bit of a speedbump in regards to this:

In 1978, Dave planned to bring 500 kids to the All-Star Game in San Diego. In a radio interview the day before, he inadvertently invited “all the kids of San Diego” to attend. Over 10,000 showed up — and Winfield brought them all into batting practice. It was the first open All-Star batting practice.

This has to be a logistical nightmare for Winfield and the Padres to deal with, but still, it’s a very cool story. Text Source: Winfield Foundation
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GASTON.
Cito Gaston 1969 Padres
Cito Gaston
 of the Padres slides into home during a spring training game against the Brewers. Based on the yellow uniform that Gaston is wearing and that Ellie Rodriguez is catching for Milwaukee, this photo had to be taken in 1972 or 1973. Image Source: Getty Images 

Bridging the Gap: The PCL Padres & MLB Padres (Part 1).

1936 & 1969 Padres(the 1936 inaugural PCL Padres & 1969 inaugural MLB Padres)

It’s no secret that I love baseball history. I’m serious, I LOVE it. Along with the Negro Leagues, the history of the old Pacific Coast League is my favorite era in the history of the game. I’m from the West Coast, so my interests are definitely shaped by where I’m from and for many people out here, the “old” or “classic” PCL (1903 to 1957) was the closest thing they had to big league baseball until MLB’s westward expansion in 1958.

I come from the frame of mind that I wish Major League Baseball never expanded to the West Coast. I’m aware that this sounds odd, but I wish the PCL succeeded in their goal of becoming the “third major league.” For a period of time this looked like a possibility as the league was granted open classification in 1952. However, by 1957 this became a pipedream when both the Dodgers and Giants committed to relocating out West the following season. The PCL would never recover and it soon became just another MLB affiliated minor league. Good or bad, this is what the league still functions as to this day.

On different levels, the Padres had one of the more interesting histories in the PCL. After losing their bid for an MLB expansion team in 1961 to the Angels, San Diego was later successful in 1969. After expansion was granted to San Diego, an almost seamless transition from having an affiliated minor league team for over a decade, to now having a Major League baseball team quickly took place. With the same name, same owner in C. Arnholt Smith and even the same home in Jack Murphy Stadium (then known as San Diego Stadium), the city of San Diego essentially experienced a “graduation” in regards to their baseball team. As they say, the rest is history.

With all this said, I recently found myself wondering if anyone had played for both the PCL Padres and MLB Padres? If anyone had, I knew it would more than likely be someone who played for the PCL Padres after the classic PCL era. Anyone playing professional baseball prior to this would probably be a bit too old to join an MLB expansion team over a decade later. After doing some research, it seemed as if I was correct in this assumption, but what did catch me off guard is that the list is kind of long. In any case, I thought it would be fun to make a list of these players and do a write up on each of them and their ties to San Diego.

So without further ado, here are the players that wore “Padres” across their chests for both the Pacific Coast League and the Major Leagues.

Roberto Peña
Roberto Pena 1969 Padres
Peña was an infielder who played for the PCL Padres in 1967 & 1968, during the team’s time as the AAA affiliate of the Phillies. He was then drafted in the 1968 expansion draft by the MLB Padres, where he played the 1969 season with the team. Playing three consecutive seasons in San Diego, which consisted of both PCL and MLB is kinda cool if you ask me. I recently came across THIS article regarding Peña, which is worth reading.

Steve Arlin
Steve Arlin San Diego Padres
Like Peña above, Arlin also spent back to back seasons in San Diego, as both a PCL and MLB Padre. He was a pitcher for the PCL team as a Philadelphia farmhand in 1968 and was later drafted in that year’s expansion draft by the MLB Padres. He played with the MLB Padres for parts of the next six seasons. Unfortunately, during his time in the big leagues with San Diego, Arlin is best known for leading the league in losses in back to back seasons (despite pitching pretty well) and losing a no-hitter in 1972 against the Phillies with two out in the ninth inning.

Jerry Johnson
Jerry Johnson San Diego Padres
Jerry Johnson was a pitcher for the PCL Padres in 1968, during their time as the AAA affiliate of the Phillies. He eventually signed with the MLB Padres in 1975, where he played the next two seasons. Johnson’s claim to baseball fame is related to nothing he actually did on the field, but a trade he was part of. In 1969, he was traded from the Phillies to the Cardinals in a seven player trade. Why is this significant? It was the famous Curt Flood trade, in which he challenged the reserve clause and eventually changed the game of baseball forever.

Lowell Palmer
Lowell Palmer San Diego Padres
Palmer was a pitcher for the PCL Padres in 1968, during their time as the AAA affiliate of the Phillies. He later played for the MLB Padres in 1974, where he wrapped up his big league career, which lasted parts of five seasons with four teams. Not too much else to say about the guy besides the fact that he always wore glasses when he played. Sometimes it looked cool, other times it looked creepy. Google image search him, you’ll see what I mean.

Rick Wise
Rick Wise San Diego Padres
Wise may be the most recognizable name on this list due to the fact that he pitched for eighteen years in the big leagues and was an all-star in both 1971 and 1973 and even pitched a no-hitter for the Phillies in 1971. He played for the PCL Padres in 1966 during their time as the Phillies AAA affiliate and played for the MLB Padres for three seasons (1980-1982), before hanging up his spikes for good.

Gary Sutherland
Gary Sutherland San Diego Padres
Sutherland was an infielder for the PCL Padres in 1966 during their time as the AAA affiliate of the Phillies and played for the MLB Padres in 1977, for one of his thirteen seasons he spent in the big leagues. Both Sutherland’s father and brother also played professional baseball

Billy McCool
Billy McCool San Diego Padres
McCool played for the PCL Padres in 1963, during the team’s time as the AAA affiliate of the Reds. He later found himself back in San Diego after being drafted in the 1968 expansion draft by the MLB Padres. He was an all-star in 1966 with the Reds and has one of the “coolest” last names in baseball history (obviously).

So that’s everyone. It’s possible I could have missed someone, and if it comes to light that I did, I’ll update this post for reference reasons. In addition, I’ve written a part two for coaches and managers, which I suggest giving a read if you enjoyed this post.