Padres Pics #6.

GWYNN.
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.

USHER.
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.
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  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.
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  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.

THE FRIAR.
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 #5.

GWYNN.Tony Gwynn 1998 World Series Home RunSince the World Series is happening, I’m obligated to start this post with the coolest World Series moment in Padres history. When Tony Gwynn took David Wells deep in Game 1 of the 1998 World Series, everything seemed ok in Padres land. It almost seemed like they could make the series competitive. But as we all know, a Mark Langston strike that was called a ball and a Tino Martinez grand slam later and the dynamic of the series was quickly changed. The Padres were not a better team than the Yankees and I certainly don’t think they could’ve won the series; but that should not of been a sweep by the Yankees. Oh well.

Related to the image above, I still have a handful of buttons left if anyone wants one. Just shoot me an EMAIL with your address and I’ll send a little package in the mail for you in no time!

COLEMAN.Jerry Coleman Padres ManagerI recently came across this photo of Jerry Coleman and was delighted. There seems to be a lack of quality photos that exist from the Colonel’s time as the Padres skipper and this one is great.

In my opinion, I think the organization should retire the #2 Jerry wore in 1980. Hell, they put it on display during his memorial, so everyone associates the number with him anyways. Instead, they let guys like Everth Cabrera and Melvin Upton wear it. You can mark this up as another missed opportunity by ownership to give a proper nod to the team’s history. (Image Source: The Lu Lac Political Letter)

TOLAN.
Bobby Tolan Padres
When most people think of baseball players with afros, they think of Oscar Gamble‘s in the 70s or Coco Crisp‘s from a couple years ago. It turns out that former San Diego outfielder, Bobby Tolan had a great one as well. Tolan had a solid career in the professional baseball, which included 13 years in the big leagues and even a season in Japan.

Tolan had two stints with the Padres (1974-1975, 1979) and after wrapping up his playing career, he became a coach for the Padres from 1980 to 1983. In Padres circles, he’s known for being the hitting coach for the Walla Walla Padres in 1981, and therefore having the honor of being Tony Gwynn’s (and John Kruk‘s) first hitting coach in professional baseball.

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.

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