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!

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Padres In The Hall Of Fame.

With Mike Piazza’s recent election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, I’m certain that everyone who loves Padres baseball got a little excited on some level, due to one of “our” guys getting in. I got to thinking that it’d be fun to do a post dedicated to former Padres enshrined in Cooperstown. On top of that, I decided to have some fun with it and add managers, coaches, broadcast members and PCL Padres as well. 

I’d assume that in the next year or two, I’ll be adding Trevor Hoffman to this list; but outside of Hoffman, there are others who’ve represented the Padres that can still potentially get in one day. Names such as Steve Garvey, Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield, Bruce Bochy, Minnie Minoso, Lefty O’Doul, Ted Leitner and even possibly Alan Trammell or Mark McGwire all deserve consideration. Yes, some of these guys may be long shots, but still, based solely on their San Diego connection, I’ll always be excited that at least some of our guys are in the discussion for baseball immortality.

Roberto Alomar
Roberto Alomar Padres
Alomar was the Padres second basemen from 1988-1990 and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2011. While he only spent his first 3 seasons in the big leagues with San Diego, those years were solid, as he earned Rookie of the Year votes and was also an All-Star. After being traded to the Blue Jays after the 1990 season, I always followed his career and in my opinion, he was the best defensive second basemen of my lifetime. In fact, he may be responsible for me wanting to learn how to play the infield, after growing up playing outfield for the most part.

As much as I loved the Alomar due to the Padres connection, it was always bittersweet to watch him, due to the fact that he was flipped during the Padres fire sale of 1992 & 1993. I’ll always remember my dad telling me to keep an eye on both Roberto and Sandy Alomar. l’ll also always remember my dad’s disdain for Padres ownership during this time; specifically Tom Werner. It’s not an exaggeration to say that he’s still mad about what Werner and that ownership group did to the team. (Image Source: BaseballHall.Org)

Sparky Anderson
Sparky Anderson 1969 Padres
I’m not sure if it’s still like this, but during my childhood, collecting baseball cards went hand in hand with being a baseball fan. As far as my circle of friends were concerned, you could not just play or watch baseball, you HAD to collect cards as well. If not, you were missing a key component of what it was all about. If you didn’t take part in collecting and trading cards, you were going to be left out of a LOT. You may be curious as to why I bring this up? Well, because when I first discovered baseball, outside of players on the Padres and A’s, there were a handful of individuals in the game that fascinated me for some reason or another and based on his 1987 and 1988 Topps baseball cards, Sparky Anderson was one of these people.

I was mesmerized by the white-haired manager of the Tigers. He looked as if he had an aura of baseball wisdom surrounding him and I remember looking at his cards and thinking “THIS is what a manager is supposed to look like!” Years later, I discovered that Sparky was the third base coach for the inaugural 1969 San Diego Padres, which is obviously cool, but what I thought was really cool is that he pretty much looked exactly the same in 1969, as he did in the late 1980s. Honestly, if you watch his Hall of Fame induction in 2000, you can make the claim that he stopped aging in the late 1960s.

Jerry Coleman
Jerry Coleman San Diego Padres
The Colonel became the voice of the Padres in 1972, and with the exception of his stint as the Padre manager in 1980, he never left the booth. Yes, as he aged, his workload became lighter, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t relevant or contributing. In fact, I loved him even more, as it made his segments and the games he actually did work even that more special. In 2005, he was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award and while that may not make him a “Hall of Famer” by definition, he’s still immortalized for eternity in Cooperstown. While I surely have countless Jerry memories that I could express here, I’ll pull this excerpt from my post on 90 Feet of Perfection, entitled “Goodbye, Jerry Coleman.”

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.

In ways, Jerry Coleman was the heart and soul of the San Diego Padres and still continues to be. The Colonel is a Hall of Famer on so many levels and I hope this is not lost on future generations of both Padres fans and baseball fans in general.

Larry Doby
Larry Doby
The man who integrated the American League played for the PCL Padres for a short period of time in 1959. In the twilight of his career, with his baseball skills deteriorating, Doby bounced around a number of teams. During this period of time, the Indians decided to take another chance on their former slugger and reacquired him from the White Sox. Cleveland optioned Doby to the Padres; their AAA affiliate at the time. Unfortunately, Doby only played 9 games with the Padres, due to breaking his ankle in a game against the Sacramento Solons. The injury was essentially the nail in the coffin of Doby’s playing career.

In 1998, almost 40 years after his last game as a player in the big leagues, Doby was elected by the Veteran’s Committee to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photo of Larry Doby from his time in San Diego. If anyone ever finds one, let me know and I will update this photo.

Bobby Doerr
Bobby Doerr 1936 PCL Padres
Bobby Doerr will forever be known as a member of the Red Sox, and rightfully so. He spent his entire major league playing career as the second basemen of the Red Sox, later becoming a scout, instructor and then first base coach for the team. Hell, his #1 uniform number is retired with the team and he’s (obviously) wearing a Red Sox cap on his Hall of Fame plaque, where he was inducted in 1986. In fact, with the exception of being the Blue Jays hitting coach from 1977 to 1981, and his years in the Pacific Coast League prior to the big leagues, he’s never not been affiliated with the Red Sox.

Doerr broke into professional baseball at the age of 16 with the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League. He spent his first two seasons in Hollywood and when owner, Bill Lane decided to relocate the team to San Diego and re-brand them as the Padres, Bobby Doerr came to town as the team’s 18-year-old second basemen. In his first and only year with the Padres, he hit .342, with 238 hits over 175 games. Doerr joined the Red Sox the following season and the rest was history. If you watch the documentary, “The First Padres,” there’s some great interview footage with him regarding his time with the Padres and as a teammate of Ted Williams. It’s easily my favorite part of the film.

Dick Enberg
Dick Enberg Padres
In 2010, Dick Enberg took over as the Padres play-by-play broadcaster and the sportscasting legend quickly dove into the world of San Diego Padres baseball. To anyone listening to Dick, it’s apparent that he’s both passionate and well versed regarding San Diego sports. It was no surprise to anyone that his years in the Padres booth, on top of his years in the Angels booth (1969 to 1981) lead to him being awarded the 2015 Ford C. Frick Award.

I think I speak for all Padres fans when I say that Enberg’s time in San Diego has been frustrating at times, as he often shows his age, which leads to him making incorrect calls. However, in the end, I think we all adore him. Honestly, I think some fans (including myself) were initially resistant to him, solely based on the irrational fact that his name isn’t Matt Vasgersian, the fan favorite that he essentially replaced in the booth. Still, with that said, I love seeing him wear a Padres button on his suit and his Padres cap while he’s out on the field or in the dugout. The guy really does love the game of baseball and the San Diego Padres. (Image Source: Sports Illustrated)

Rollie Fingers 
Rollie Fingers Padres
Rollie Fingers and his famous mustache pitched for the Padres from 1977 to 1980 and during those four seasons, he lead the league in saves twice, earned MVP votes on two different occasions and pitched in the 1978 All-Star Game. Fingers was eventually elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992 and with the rise of advanced stats and sabermetrics, it can be debated if he’s actual Hall of Fame material, but what can’t be debated is that he was an excellent professional baseball player. As a kid, Fingers was one of those San Diego athletes I’d hear stories about from my family members. While I never personally saw Fingers pitch in San Diego, my older brothers did and for one of my older brothers, he got to meet him under interesting circumstances.

Some of my details may be off, as I haven’t talked to my brother about it for awhile, but the gist of the story goes like this…When Fingers was in San Diego, my older brother and some of his friends were hired by the Padres star to help him move (I assume this was after the 1980 season). Pretty normal stuff I believe, he probably just hired neighborhood kids to do some packing, lifting, etc. The deal was that they’d help him move for couple days, likely through a weekend, and then Fingers would pay them afterward on a specific day and location. Well, after my brother and the other kids finished, they went to the decided location to collect payment from one of their baseball heroes, and guess what? He left without paying them. That’s right, Rollie Fingers ripped off a bunch of kids. Whether it was intentional or not, or simply a misunderstanding, this is a 100% true story and due to this, anytime Rollie Fingers has been brought up, my older brother always makes sure to include some not so nice words regarding the Hall of Famer.

Goose Gossage 
Goose Gossage Padres
Like Rollie Fingers before him, Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage was also a relief pitcher who played for the Padres for 4 seasons (1984-1987). During his tenure with the Padres, Gossage was an All-Star twice and most certainly lead the National League West in intimidation, as he was mustached closer with a fastball that could hit 100. More importantly, he helped anchor down the bullpen on the 1984 team that won the National League Pennant.

I can honestly say that the ’84 team is probably my favorite baseball team ever, which is kind of odd, since I was too young to even remember the team. Still, when I think of that team, Gossage is one of the first names that come to mind. Reason being is that Goose Gossage was my late mother’s favorite baseball player and that had to do with his time with the Padres. Like every family member I have, she also loved Tony Gwynn, but she had a thing for Gossage and continued to follow him after he left the Padres. In fact, whenever I’d get Gossage baseball cards, I’d always offer them to her first. She’d always politely say that’s ok and thank me for offering, but you can sure as hell bet that whenever I’d get duplicate Gossage cards, she had to take them. Gossage was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008, and it’s always been a bit saddening that my mother was not around to witness his induction.

Tony Gwynn
Tony Gwynn Padres Brown Uniform
What can I say about Tony Gwynn that hasn’t been said before? From 1982 until 2001, he represented the Padres in every way possible. Through thick and thin, he stayed loyal to San Diego; even when larger checks were available elsewhere. As a kid, I pretty much worshiped him and he’s the reason that I still wear #19 on my jersey. It’s safe to say that he’s my favorite baseball player of all-time. Even if he was not a Padre, it’s quite possible that I’d still feel the same way.

I can go on forever about the man known as Mr. Padre and his career, which lead to him being elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007, along with Cal Ripken Jr. Instead, I’m just going to leave a link to a post I wrote after his death, entitled “Remembering Tony Gwynn.” (Image Source: SBNation)

Rickey Henderson
Rickey Henderson Padres
Much like Tony Gwynn, what can I say about Rickey that hasn’t already been said countless times? The all-time leader in stolen bases and runs scored played for the Padres twice; the first being from 1996-1997 and then again in 2001. While Rickey is obviously wearing an A’s cap on his Hall of Fame plaque, and rightfully so, you can’t deny that Rickey had some pretty unforgettable moments in San Diego. I recently discussed The Man of Steal’s time with the Padres in a post entitled, “Rickey Henderson in San Diego.”

Billy Herman
billy-herman-padres
Billy Herman is one of those names that I’ve heard of a lot and know was an important figure in the game, but for some reason, I wasn’t quite familiar with for some reason or another. When I initially created this list, I missed Herman as I had NO idea that he had any connection to the Padres.

After some research, I discovered that Herman had a 22 year career playing professional baseball, where he played for 4 MLB teams and was a 10 time All Star. After his playing career, he managed both the Pirates and Red Sox in the ’60s and later was a coach for various teams; including the World Champion 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers and Padres from 1978 to 1979.

Herman was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1975, along with Earl Averill, Bucky Harris, and Negro League star, Judy Johnson.

Bob Lemon
bob-lemon-padres
Bob Lemon played his entire big league career with the Indians. In fact, he never played for another organization during his playing career and due to this, he spent a short period of time with the PCL Padres in 1958; as the Padres were the AAA affiliate of the Indians at that time. Lemon was at the end of his career as his pitching arm was about spent at that point, but still appeared in 12 games for San Diego, going 2–5 with a 4.34 ERA.

In addition to pitching for the Padres, Lemon also appeared in 13 games as an outfielder for Friars; where he held a 1000% fielding (22 putouts in 22 chances). After doing some research, it turns out that Lemon was one of an athlete. He came up as a position player in the minors, started his big league career in 1941 as a utility player and eventually transitioned to a full time pitcher in 1948. This must have been the right career choice, as it lead to his Hall of Fame induction in 1976; where he entered alongside Robin Roberts, Roger Connor, Freddie Lindstrom, and Negro League star, Oscar Charleston.

Greg Maddux
Greg Maddux Padres Throwback
Mad Dog was a Padre from 2007 to 2008, and while he was past his prime, he was still productive and a lot of fun to watch. It can and is often argued that Maddux is the best pitcher of his generation, so I feel lucky that I was able to see him pitch on two different occasions. Maddux was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014 and while his time in San Diego was brief, he still mentioned his time with the Padres, specifically mentioning both Bud Black and Darren Balsley in his speech.

Willie McCovey
Willie McCovey Padres
Like Rollie Fingers, there were a number of San Diego athletes I grew up hearing about from family members. Willie McCovey was one of these guys. Even though his time in San Diego was short-lived (1974 to 1976), he was still productive for an aging slugger. 52 home runs in a little under two and half seasons is respectable. McCovey will forever be known as a member of the Giants, but I’ve always thought it was cool that he spent three seasons with my two favorite big league teams (Padres and A’s), before returning to San Francisco, where he finished out his career after the 1980 season. McCovey was a member of the 1986 Hall of Fame class and was the first MLB Padre to be inducted. With that said, the 1986 class also included one-time PCL Padre, Bobby Doerr.

My dad told me a story regarding McCovey and his time in San Diego. He said that the Padres held a promotion where if you attended a game that McCovey hit a home run, you could redeem your ticket it at McDonalds for a free Big Mac hamburger. This makes total sense as Ray Kroc owned the team during this time and Big Mac was McCovey’s nickname. I’m just curious as to how long the promotion lasted? (Image Source: Topps)

Tony Perez
Tony Perez PCL Padres
That’s right, you’re not seeing things; that’s THE Tony Perez from the Big Red Machine. Perez, or “Big Dog” as he was often called, played for the PCL Padres from 1963 to 1964, during the team’s time as the Reds AAA affiliate.

Perez was promoted to AAA at the end of the 1963 season and played 8 games with the Padres before wrapping up the season. While it was a small sample size, Perez hit at a .379/.419/.655 clip with 11 hits. He surely gained some attention due to this, but he really made his presence made in 1964, when he hit .309/.374/.597 with 34 home runs over 124 games. As they say, the rest was history for this Cuban baseball legend. Perez was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000, along with Carlton Fisk and his former manager from Cincinnati, Sparky Anderson. (Image Source: Beckett)

Gaylord Perry
Gaylord Perry Padres
The king of doctoring baseballs played for the Padres from 1978 to 1979 and during that time, he pitched pretty damn well. Perry won 21 games 1978, which lead to him winning the National League Cy Young award and in 1979, at age 40, he had another solid campaign and represented the team in the All-Star Game. Unfortunately, that was the end of his time in San Diego, as he demanded a trade after the 1979 season and actually threatened to retire if the trade was not granted. Perry ended up playing until 1983 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991, along with Bill Veeck, Tony Lazzeri, Fergie Jenkins and Rod Carew. (Image Source: NY Daily News)

Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza San Diego Padres
Mike Piazza terrorized National League pitching for years, and while I don’t remember a specific instance off the top of my head, I’m quite certain he did more than his fair share of damage against the Padres. I do know that during his career, he hit 27 home runs against San Diego, which is tied for 5th in teams he hit dingers against during his 16 years in the big leagues. With that said, I still remember the day he signed with the Padres. A buddy of mine sent me a text that simply said “Piazza???” I hopped online and sure enough, Mike Piazza was now a Padre. It was weird, and in retrospect, it still is kinda weird.

I liked Piazza as a Padre and he had a pretty good year, as he played in 126 games and hit at a .283/.342/.501 clip with 22 home runs. For a 37-year-old catcher in the twilight of his career, that’s awesome. I have three Piazza memories that stick out from 2006:

  1. The home run he crushed on opening day against Jason Schmidt of the Giants. I was sold on him from that point forward. There used to be a video of this online, but unfortunately, I can’t find it anymore.
  2. The two home runs he hit against the Mets in his return to Shea Stadium. I remember him almost hitting a third, but the ball caught at the warning track. It was crazy to see the love that Piazza got as a returning player.
  3. Now this is something that I unfortunately, remember quite vividly. In the 4th inning of Game 1 of the NLDS, Jake Peavy got Albert Pujols to pop up behind the plate at a crucial point of the scoreless game. However, Piazza misread the ball and did not catch it. Pujols made them pay for this mistake and took the next ball deep for a 2 run blast. The Padres never recovered and ended up losing the game 5 to 1. I remember Peavy being pretty frustrated with Piazza afterward. It’s crazy to think that this was 10 years ago and it’s been a decade since the Padres were in the post-season.

Later this year, Mike Piazza will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with Ken Griffey Jr.; a player who at one point almost became a Padre, if not for Phil Nevin exercising his no-trade clause. Junior in a Padres uniform would have been AWESOME.

Ozzie Smith
Ozzie Smith Padres
If I didn’t know better, based on the praise my father and other family members give Ozzie Smith, you’d think that he played his entire career in San Diego. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as he only spent the first four seasons of his Hall of Fame career (1978 to 1981) as a member of the Padres.

I remember when I first started collecting baseball cards and my dad telling me about Ozzie after I got my hands on a card of his. He told me that Ozzie was the Padre shortstop prior to Garry Templeton, the man whom he was traded for. This blew my mind, due to the fact that I thought Tempy was awesome. I mean, he was THE shortstop of the Friars for the majority childhood, so in my eyes, he was a stud. Obviously, as I got a little older, I realized that Tempy was no Ozzie and the Cardinals won the now infamous trade. At least we got THIS during Ozzie’s time in San Diego, which some say is the best defensive play in the history of Major League Baseball.

The Wizard of Oz was the sole player elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002. However, Phillies announcer, Harry Kalas received the Ford C. Frick Award and entered Cooperstown with Ozzie. While watching the Hall of Fame induction that year, I vaguely seem to remember a fair amount of fans wearing padres gear in the crowd during his speech. But then again, there may have been just one or two people and my memory is playing tricks on me.

Dick Williams
Dick Williams Padres
Dick Williams managed the Padres from 1982 to 1985 and guided the team to their first postseason berth and subsequent World Series appearance. For that in itself, he will forever be accepted, respected and adored by Padres fans. Which is something I believe can be said about all the members of the 1984 team.

Williams had a .520 W-L percentage (337-311) during his 4 years in San Diego, and lead the team to the 1984 World Series. Still, I feel his time in San Diego is often overlooked; which is not surprising due to the fact that this is San Diego we’re talking about. Hell, when he passed away in 2011, outside of San Diego media outlets and Padres related social media accounts, his time in the brown and yellow was barely acknowledged due to what he accomplished with the Red Sox and A’s. Oh well.

Ted Williams
Ted Williams PCL San Diego Padres

If you follow me on twitter and/or read this blog or 90 Feet of Perfection, you quickly pick up on the fact that I’m a big fan of Ted Williams and the PCL Padres. As a kid, ever since I got my hands on THIS 1992 Upper Deck card, which features the Splendid Splinter in his Padres jersey, I’ve been infatuated with the guy. I had heard about the “original” Padres from family members, but really knew nothing about the history of the team; let alone the fact that the greatest hitter of all time started his professional career with them. Add the fact that shortly after this, Ted Williams took to mentoring Tony Gwynn, and I was forever a fan.

I don’t know much else to say about Williams that hasn’t been said before, especially by myself, but I will repeat my favorite fun fact about him: Ted Williams wore #19 in San Diego, just like Tony Gwynn did over 45 years later. For some reason, I think that’s so cool and uncanny, due to the connection and similarities between both players.

Ted Williams played for the Padres from 1936 to 1937 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1966, along with Manager Casey Stengel via the Veterans Committee. Ted’s Hall of Fame speech in one of the more memorable speeches in the game’s history due to the fact that he acknowledged and called for the induction of Negro League players into the Hall of Fame as well. This is obviously incredible and admirable on so many levels, but along with this, even though it has no social implications, I love the fact that he also mentioned Frank Shellenback in his speech. Who is Frank Shellenback you may ask? Well, he was the first manager of the Pacific Coast League Padres, and Ted’s first manager in professional baseball. (Image Source: San Diego Union Tribune)

Dave Winfield
Dave Winfield Padres
It can be argued that Dave Winfield was the MLB Padres first legitimate star. Yes, both Randy Jones and Winfield joined the team the same season, but it was the slugger from Minnesota who bloomed first. Some people outside of San Diego may have a hard time associating Winfield with the Padres due to the fact that he played with various teams, but here are a few refreshers regarding his connection to the Friars:

  • He played in San Diego for 8 seasons (1973 to 1980) and was an All-Star for four of those seasons.
  • He was elected to the team Hall of Fame in 2000.
  • In 2001, his #31 jersey was retired by the Padres.
  • In 2001, he was elected to the Hall of Fame along with Bill Mazeroski, Kirby Puckett and Hilton Smith. In a somewhat controversial move, Winfield choose to wear his Padres cap on his plaque, making him the first Padre to do so.
  • From 2001 to 2013, he worked as the executive vice president/senior advisor (whatever that means) for the Padres, before moving on to work with the Major League Baseball Players Association.

What I’m saying is that Dave Winfield is a Padre. Hell, you still see him wearing his Padres cap during the All-Star celebrity softball games. Also, according to Wikipedia (so take it with a grain of salt), this is taking place during the 2016 All-Star Game:

“The 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, played at Petco Park in San Diego, is expected to be dedicated to Winfield. He had represented the Padres at the first All-Star Game to be played in San Diego.”

Who knows if this is true, but if so, I have no problem with it, as long as other notable Padres from the past get their respect as well. We don’t want another Tony Gwynn debacle to go down. I doubt this will happen, due to the game being held in San Diego…but then again this is MLB and current ownership we’re talking, both which are tone deaf at times. (Image Source: 30-Year Cardboard)

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)

A Blast From The Past: “The Heartbreak of Being a Padres Fan.”

In 2012, I wrote “The Heartbreak of Being a Padres Fan” for 90 Feet of Perfection and recently got the idea to share it here on The 5.5 Hole. I’ve generally kept my rooting interest for the Padres at a minimum on that site, but at that time I had no other outlet for a post of that nature. This was written prior to losing both Tony Gwynn and Jerry Coleman in 2014, so that’s not included. Also, the perception on some situations have changed a bit over the years, but the overall theme of the post still remains the same. This is why I’m leaving everything intact from the original post and not updating it; minus fixing a few grammatical issues that caught my eye.

The Swinging Friar

The San Diego Padres are not a baseball team that many people give much thought to due to the fact that they are a small market team on the West Coast lacking franchise success in terms of post-season achievements. Many fans can not name 5 players currently on the Padres roster due to their lack of “superstars” and their decision to embrace the youth movement which often comes hand in hand with teams in rebuild mode.

Being a San Diego sports fan is a tradition in my family. To this day I still bond with my Father and Grandmother over the Padres. In fact, my Grandmother is in her late 80’s and still a Padres fan. During my childhood, my parents, older half-brothers, and Grandmother all filled my head with various stories about the Padres that still resonate with me. Hearing stories about watching the Padres prior to their MLB debut in 1969 while still part of the PCL blew my mind. Hearing my Dad quote Jerry Coleman (“Oh, Doctor!” “You can hang a star on that baby!”) will always entertain me and bring me joy. Stories about players with names like Nate Colbert, Willie McCovey, Ozzie Smith, Goose Gossage (My Mom’s favorite player), Rollie Fingers, Dave Winfield and Randy Jones all held my attention and captivated my imagination at a very young age. I still retain these stories in my memory bank and always will.

When I discovered Baseball around 1987 or 1988 I quickly found a baseball hero of my own and his name was Tony Gwynn. I could be wrong but I believe my Grandmother thinks Tony Gwynn is a saint and she has every right to believe so, as he is still the one shining beacon of joy, hope and pride that Padres fans never lost or felt betrayed by. Even with potential free agency looming at the end of contracts and when being pursued by large market teams such as the Yankees; he stayed with San Diego more than once and often for below market value. Unfortunately this is where the joy for many Padres fans end.

I am now 32 years old and I started to follow the Padres around the age of 8. What this means is that I have 24 years of baseball heartbreak in some shape or form. I’m not implying that this heartbreak is as bad as what Red Sox fans went through during their 86 year drought or what Cubs fans have gone through since 1908. That would be ridiculous to compare the teams as the Padres are only entering their 44th year in Major League Baseball. However, It hasn’t been easy though.

In my years as a Padres fan there have been a number of heartbreaking moments that still do not sit well with me and that is the purpose of this post; to list my most heartbreaking Padres moments. If you see the list and wonder why I did not list the 1984 or 1998 World Series defeats, the answer is easy: they were not heartbreaking for me. I was too young to remember the 1984 World Series and I never thought for a moment that the Padres could beat the Yankees in 1998. I was just happy to see them in the World Series and to see them get National recognition and respect.

So with all this said, I now give you my most heartbreaking moments a Padres fan in a somewhat chronological order:

-The Padres 1992-1993 fire sale.

I was too young to completely understand what was going on but there were 2 things which were very apparent to me. The first is that all of the Padres stars were being shipped off at an alarming rate, with the exception of Tony Gwynn. The 2nd being that to this day my Dad has never said or heard the name “Tom Werner” without following it up with an explicit name not to be said around those easily offended. I too have inherited this trait from him and would like to think if I ever met Werner I would give him a piece of my mind.

The only positive aspect of the fire sale was that we got Trevor Hoffman. Andy Ashby may have been good, but not good enough to erase the sting of the team getting gutted. (Screen capture courtesy of Baseball-Reference)

-Cardinals defeating SD in the 1996, 2005, and 2006 NLDS.

With the exception of 1998, I have not personally seen the Padres win a playoff series. I have seen the Cardinals knock out my Padres on 3 different occasions. To add insult to injury, out of all three of these playoff series, the Padres only managed to win one game (Game three of the 2006 NLDS ). This post-season domination by St. Louis is both embarrassing and frustrating.

With that said, I must proclaim that Chris Young will forever have my respect and admiration for his performance during Game 3 of the 2006 NLDS. (Screen capture courtesy of MLB)

-October 1st, 2007: Game 163 against the Rockies.

An extra inning battle which was settled in the 13th inning after Trevor Hoffman blew a save and was rocked to the tune of 3 runs for a final score of 9-8. I really thought they had this nailed shut when Scott Hairston crushed a home run in the top of the 13th inning off of Jorge Julio. Unfortunately the Baseball gods thought otherwise.

I’ll always be somewhat bitter towards Umpire Tim McClelland and will forever hold the stance that Matt Holliday did not touch the plate. It’s safe to say that it still hurts when I think about this night.

-Losing Adrian Gonzalez and Jake Peavy.

  • 2008 opening day payroll: over $73 million.
  • 2009 opening day payroll: under $43 million.
  • 2010 opening day payroll: under $38 million.

After reading the payrolls above, you may be asking yourself how did the Padres payroll drop so dramatically in such a short period of time? Well, the majority of the blame is to be pointed at soon to be former owner of the Padres, John Moores. His nasty divorce screwed the Padres in terms of payroll and led to him beginning the selling process of the team in early 2009. Add this to an outdated television deal and the results were a financial nightmare for San Diego with the main casualties being Jake Peavy and Adrian Gonzalez, as the Padres were not able to retain their stars through this transition period. Thankfully, the completed purchase of the Padres and new TV deal should be finished in the next couple weeks.

It still stings to see the both of them in other uniforms, especially Peavy as he is without a doubt my favorite Pitcher in Baseball.

Note to owners: Don’t be idiots in regards to your marital affairs, it can and will screw your team in some way shape or form as both the Padres & Dodgers can attest.

-Trevor Hoffman leaving San Diego.

Trevor Hoffman was the face of the Padres after Tony Gwynn retired and he should have played out the rest of his career in San Diego. This did not happen. Take the above mentioned payroll issues into consideration along with the fact that now former Padres CEO Sandy Alderson is a egomaniac with an attitude problem who retracted a contract offer to Hoffman. What you have left is Trevor playing his last 2 seasons with the Brewers.

Much like Tom Werner, I wish nothing but failure for Sandy Alderson in regards to the rest of his career in Baseball.

-The 2010 late season collapse.

This still stings. 2010 could have been, in many ways, the Padres unexpected year of greatness. Overall it was a very good year but a monumental 10 game losing streak late in the season, smack in the middle of a division race will screw any team. Add that to a loss to the Giants on the final day of the season and their chances of the post-season were destroyed.

Oh yeah, did I mention that the loss on the final day of the season fell on my birthday? It was a birthday that I will never forget, although it is one that I would love to, as I was almost brought to tears by the team’s collapse.

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.