Padres Pics #11.


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.


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.


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.

Padres Pics #6.

Tony Gwynn Mets Slide
I came across this photo not long ago and fell in love with it. Tony Gwynn going in hard at second base, while Wally Backman of the Mets attempts to complete a double play. The dirt flying, Backman in the air and Gwynn’s #19 on his brown uniform; It doesn’t get much better than this.

Bob Usher San Diego Padres
Bob Usher played professional baseball for parts of 14 seasons and spent time in the big leagues with the Reds, Cubs, Indians and Senators. He also spent time in the Pacific Coast League, where he played with the Angels and Padres. Known for his speed and strong arm, Usher was also a solid hitter. In his only full season with his hometown Padres (1956), he hit .350, while accumulating 208 base hits, which propelled him to the big leagues for one last stint. During Usher’s life in baseball he witnessed or took part in some notable moments in the history of the game that some of you may find interesting:

  1. When people think about legendary baseball brawls, they probably think of the Juan Marichal and John Roseboro brawl in 1965, or even the Braves and Padres brawl in 1984. However, one of the greatest brawls in history did not happen in the big leagues, but in the Pacific Coast League, during a Los Angeles Angels and Hollywood Stars game in 1953. Usher was in the middle of this mayhem and discussed his memories of how it went down in Graham Womack’s blog, “Baseball: Past and Present,” in an interview entitled “Remembering A Good Brawl.” It’s a great interview and the blog itself is incredible, especially if you love the history of the game.
  2. As a teenager, Usher played on the San Diego American Legion Post No. 6 team that played in the 1940 American Legion World Series, held in Albemare, North Carolina. This is significant due to the fact that the two black members of his team were barred from playing in the final series. One of these players ended up being future Negro League star, John Ritchey. The man would one day be dubbed the “Jackie Robinson of the Pacific Coast League,” due to breaking the PCL color barrier with the Padres. To read more about this series and the ramifications of it, click HERE. A young Bob Usher is featured in the team photo, top row, 3rd from left.
  3. 1958 was Usher’s last year in professional baseball and he spent it playing with the Miami Marlins of the International League, who were the AAA affiliate of the Phillies. This is significant due to the fact that the ageless wonder, Satchel Paige played on the Marlins and it was his last real season in professional baseball. As a 51 year old, Paige went 10-10 with a 2.95 ERA over 110 innings. Not bad for an old-timer.

In 2011, I met Usher at the Northern California Pacific Coast League Reunion and for a 87 year old, he was quite sharp, witty and took a liking to me. Needless to say, I enjoyed my time hanging out with him. To see a photo of myself along with him, click HERE, where he is to the left of me. Also featured in this photo is former PCL Padres Pitcher, Pete Mesa (far left) and my friend and baseball historian, Bill Swank. Unfortunately, both Mesa and Usher have since passed away. I always meant to go to Usher’s house here in the Bay Area and interview him, but I never got around to it. For this, I’ll always kick myself.

PCL Padres Friar Carlos Hadaway
In 1961, the Pacific Coast League Padres held a contest in which fans were encouraged to design a team mascot. A 19 year local kid named Carlos Hadaway won the contest by creating the now beloved San Diego Padres Friar. However, the original friar was not in his classic swinging pose, as this was implemented in the late 1960s and is supposedly based on THIS photo.

Something I was not aware of until recently is that the friar was absent from the Padres from 1985 to 1995. Regardless of ownership, the team consistently strays away from its traditions on various levels, over and over again. As a fan, this is incredibly frustrating. Oh yeah, by the way, I have the Swinging Friar tattooed on my inner bicep. My brother got it for me as a birthday present years ago and I still love it. Click HERE for the photo.

(Image Source: Baseball In San Diego – From The Padres To Petco by Bill Swank)

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 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)

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.