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)

Padres Pics #9.

WRIGLEY.Cito Gaston WrigleyThis photo of the Padres playing the Cubs at Wrigley Field is great; even though the call did not go San Diego’s way. One thing that puzzles me though, is that I can’t figure out who the player sliding into home is? Based on uniforms, I’m lead to believe that this photo was taken in 1974 or 1975 and the player in question is either Jerry Turner, John Scott or Bobby Tolan. If anyone knows for sure, definitely let me know. One thing I do know is that the catcher is future-Padre, Steve Swisher and that’s obviously Cito Gaston standing in the background.

GWYNN & ROSE.
Tony Gwynn 1st Career Hit Pete Rose
On July 19th, 1982, Tony Gwynn made his major league debut, in a game against the Phillies at Jack Murphy Stadium. Pete Rose, who was playing first base that night, met Tony at second base after his first major league hit. Rose congratulated him and jokingly said something along the lines of “Don’t catch me in one night.” This may be a well known story, but I still don’t think I’ve ever seen video of his first hit, let alone his interaction with Rose. Needless to say, I was happy when @BenHigginsSD shared this screenshot on twitter earlier this year, which captures Gwynn right after he rolled into second base with Rose right behind him. 

After looking over the box score from that historic night, two interesting things crossed my mind:

  • Gwynn’s first plate appearance may not of been a hit, but it was productive; as he hit a sacrifice fly against future Giants broadcaster, Mike Krukow. You may ask yourself who scored on that sacrifice fly? Well, that would be the one and only Tim Flannery, who one day would have the interesting honor of being number #2 on games played list for players who spent their entire playing career on the Padres. He “only” trails Tony Gwynn by close to 1500 games.  (Thanks to @ChangeThePadres for this little fun fact)
  • Gwynn had 5 at-bats that night and didn’t even get his first hit until the bottom of the 8th inning, against Sid Monge, who would later be his teammate in 1983 & 1984. Tony later came up again in the bottom of the 9th, where he hit a single against Ron Reed. An interesting thing about Reed is that just like Gwynn, he was also a college basketball star who got drafted by an NBA team. I can’t imagine there being an incredibly long list of MLB players who were also drafted by NBA teams, so this caught my eye. With that said, unlike Gwynn, Reed actually pursued professional basketball and played for the Pistons during the ’65/66 & ’66/67 NBA seasons.
  • Gwynn went 2 for 4 that day and all three of the balls he successfully put into play (sacrifice fly, double and single) were hit to centerfield. Both of his “unsuccessful” at-bats took place against Sid Monge and resulted in a lineout to the shortstop and a strikeout. Not a bad day for 22 year old kid making his major league debut.

GWYNN & GRANT.
Tony Gwynn & Mark Grants Padres
I recently came across this photo and it warmed my heart, as it captures two of the most beloved individuals in organizational history. Tony Gwynn, Mark Grant and Padres brown?? it doesn’t get much better than this!

Speaking of Mudcat, did anyone catch on to the fact that he’s been part of the Padres broadcasting team now for over 20 years? I don’t remember the Padres doing anything to celebrate this. It would be awesome if the team honored him with a promotional item next season, just to bring attention to the time he’s spent in San Diego. I suggest a Grant #55 brown jersey giveaway or Grant bobblehead from his playing days. I’d prefer the bobblehead, but eh, we know how the team feels about them. (Image Source: Getty Images)

Padres Pics #8.

PEAVY.
Jake Peavy 1948 Throwback
On May 6th, 2006, in a game against the Cubs, the Padres first wore their 1948 PCL throwback uniforms, during a two day celebration of the Negro Leagues. You may ask why would they wear Pacific Coast League uniforms during a Negro League celebration? Well, they wore the throwbacks to honor John Ritchey, the former Negro League catcher who broke the PCL color barrier with the Padres in 1948 and became known as the “Jackie Robinson of the Pacific Coast League.”

While I love the old PCL and the uniforms from that era, I find it a little odd that they didn’t go with the San Diego Tigers of the West Coast Negro Baseball League. I assume it’s because the league was short lived not much is known about the league to casual fans, but then again, that’s what would make it interesting and fun.

Jake Peavy was the starting pitcher that day and he did it in style, wearing high stirrups and saluting the Negro Leagues in a way that makes baseball history nerds like myself very happy. Before the first pitch of the game, Peavy did a Satchel Paige-esque double-pump windup before delivering a strike to Juan Pierre. You can read about it HERE. (Image Source: Dandy’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Blog)

PENA.Roberto Pena PadresRoberto Pena was the starting second basemen for the inaugural 1969 San Diego Padres, and based on this photo of him diving to lay a tag on a Phillies player, he also spent some time at first base. Oh yeah, he also played shortstop and third as well, so he was quite versatile. Pena only played one of his six big league seasons in San Diego and later wrapped up his playing career in the Mexican Leagues with the Tampico Stevedores and Yucatan Leones. Awhile back, I did a write up on Pena on Bridging the Gap: The PCL Padres & MLB Padres (Part 1), due to the fact that he played for both the PCL and MLB Padres. (Image Source: Mears Auctions)

USHER & COLAVITO.
Bob Usher & Rocky Colavito PadresA 1956 San Diego Union photo featuring PCL Padre outfielders, Bob Usher and Rocky Colavito. Here is the original caption to the photo:

“Padre, Bob Usher, left, inspects throwing arm of Rocky Colavito, new outfielder on option from Cleveland. Colavito’s throwing arm is termed by many veterans as the finest in organized baseball while Usher’s is one of the best in the Pacific Coast League. Colavito is subject to 24-hour recall”

Rocky Colavito’s legacy as a baseball player is largely associated with the Indians, and rightfully so, as he spent 8 of his 14 big league seasons in Cleveland. Still, it’s interesting to know that Colavito spent 35 games with the Padres in 1956, during the team’s time as the AAA affiliate of the Indians.

Usher, on the other hand, spent parts of two seasons in San Diego, in addition to playing 4 seasons with the PCL Angels and bouncing around 4 teams during his 6 seasons in the big leagues. I previously wrote about Usher HERE, which I suggest checking out. The guy lived an interesting life in baseball, which lead to him being present at some notable moments in the history of the game. (Image Source: The J.G. Preston Experience)

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.

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.

In different aspects, the Padres had one of the more interesting histories in the PCL. This is something that I touch upon in my PCL Padres Instagram Account. After losing their bid for an MLB expansion team in 1961 to the Angels, San Diego was later successful in doing so 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, there will part a part two to this post for coaches and managers as well, so look for that in the near future.