Back in May I wrote a post about taking my now nearly 5-month old daughter to her first Padre game. It was a cool experience and one I’m not likely to forget in my lifetime.
However, it occurred to me during that experience that I don’t actually have any memory of my own first Padres game. It’s something I’ve always been jealous of when I hear other fans recall, with such vivid detail, their first game. They know who the Padres played, who won, who pitched, who hit a HR, what the weather was like and so on.
I don’t have that and it hasn’t changed my fandom in anyway. But still, it would be cool to have a “first game.”
WAIT A MINUTE! I write on the internet. I can crowd-source this thing! So let’s do it. I put my faith in your hands. You pick what my first Padres game was.
Obviously, this is somewhat unofficial and we can’t just willy nelly pick a random game. We need to narrow it down in someway. Luckily, we have some clues to hone in on a particular day.
Clue #1: My family moved from Virginia to Oceanside in 1985. I was 4. My sister was 1. We weren’t heading to any baseball games that first year.
Clue #2: In 1988 I was the Honorary Bat Boy for the Padres. So we know that that wasn’t the first game. And it was unlikely to have been at any point that season. Needed some fandom already engrained before someone gets the honor of Honorary Bat Boy…and an oversized shirt.
This narrows us down to 1986 or 1987. My guess, based on my sisters age, was the game was in 1987. Now, I’m 6 years old at this point so let’s eliminate any game during the school year. So, goodbye April and most of May as well as September. In all likelihood the first game would have been a weekend game so let’s narrow it down some more. Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, between June and August in 1986 or 1987. Let’s see what games we can find:
June 6, 1986
Andy Hawkins goes 6.1 IP. Tony Gwynn goes 2 for 5. Marvell Wynne hits a walk-off single in the 11th to go home happy. Bip Roberts scores all 3 runs for the good guys.
June 14, 1986
The Padres take Orel Hershiser out to the woodshed and tag him for 6 runs in 6.1IP. Eric Show throws 7 scoreless. Tony Gwynn has 3 RBI and is a HR away from the cycle. The Padres score 8 runs with 2 outs.
August 23, 1986
The Padres take a 3 run lead into the 9th before starter LaMarr Hoyt gives up 2 runs and records only 1 out. The Goose is brought in to close it down but an unearned run ties the game. In the 12th, Bruce Bochy singles home Tony Gwynn.
June 6, 1987
Shirtless Ed Whitson keeps his shirt on but allows 3 runs in 5 innings before being pulled. Randy Ready goes 3 for 5 with 2 RBI and Tony Gwynn and John Kruk help out with RBI of their own. Lance McCullers is credited with a 4 inning save.
July 11, 1987
Mark “MudCat” Grant goes 7.1 giving up 0 ER and 1 unearned. Barry Bonds draws 2 BBs. Gwynn goes 1 for 3 with a run and an RBI. Garry Templeton steals a base and Mark Davis (one of my favorite players growing up) gets the save.
August 8, 1987 (full disclosure: the odds of this being the game are virtually zero as this is my sisters birthday)
Mark Grant toes the rubber again. His counterpart? Nolan Ryan, who goes 6 innings and gives up only 1 run while striking out 6. Astros rookie Ken Caminiti goes 0 for 4. The Padres rally for 2 runs in the 9th to tie it thanks to a Benito Santiago 2 RBI single. John Kruk drives in Tony Gwynn in the 10th to walk-off.
So there they are. 6 nominees. 3 from each potential year. I leave the rest up to you.