Friday, May 14, 2010

Confessions of an Ex-Padres Fan

I lived in San Diego County for ten years, beginning in 1976, and was a temporary Padres fan. If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

The Puds were perennial doormats back in those days, but there was lots to enjoy about them. The big star was Dave Winfield. He never played a day in the minors. But he left for the Yankees after the '80 season.

Ozzie Smith's major league debut was in April '78. Of course it was a treat to watch him. He got traded to the Cards in '81.

The '78 season also featured 39 year old Gaylord Perry going 21-6 and winning the Cy Young award. The team had a rare winning record that year, going 84-78 for manager Roger Craig.

Tony Gwynn debuted in '82, and won his first of many batting crowns in '84. That was a breakthrough year for the Padres. They actually won the pennant, defeating the Cubs in a dramatic playoff. Then they lost the World Series to a powerhouse Detroit team.

My favorite memory from that year was a visit from my brother, JC. We went to each game of a four-game series against the Giants at good old Jack Murphy stadium. The Puds swept that series too.

But the all-time highlight of my Padre fandom occurred July 29, 1983. In a game against the Braves Steve Garvey slid hard into home and broke his thumb, ending a 1207 game streak. I instinctively stood and cheered when I knew he was badly hurt. It was then that I knew for sure that I was never really a Padres fan after all.


JC Parsons said...

Great post! I remember that 4 game series at Jack Murphy. What a big boring stadium that was! Thanks for stirring up those memories.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Dave Winfield was awesome. I saw A LOT of the Padres during the same era, but from the LF bleachers at the 'Stick. I remember a very young all-glove no-hit Ozzie Smith as well, and seeing Gaylord Perry pitch AGAINST us was very, very weird. Steve Garvey is probably my most hated ballplayer of all time. Ron Cey probably did more damage against us, but I deeply loathed Steve Garvey.

Zo said...

Dammit, Bob, can't you just leave me alone to enjoy a good, irrational hatred?

As I recall, Ozzie was traded to the Cardinals for Gary Templeton, another very young all glove no-hit shortstop. Either Ozzie had done or said something to piss off the Padres managment or Templeton had done or said something to piss off the Cardinals management. I don't remember, but suspect the latter. Seems like the Cards came out on the plus side of that deal.

Anonymous said...

It's OK, we've all done things that we're not proud of.

Bob said...

I remember the games at "The Murph" were all about swatting beachballs around and doing "the wave," while men in taco-wrapper uniforms played baseball. There were always huge sections of seats filled with Marines and sailors.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Those brown and yellow unis of the early days were something else. The only thing I miss from that era is stirrups.