My First Padres Game

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:

Nominee #1

June 6, 1986

Padres 3, Braves 2 (11 innings)

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.

Attendance: 19,224

Nominee #2

June 14, 1986

Padres 12, Dodgers 0

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.

Attendance: 40,785

Nominee #3

August 23, 1986

Padres 4, Phillies 3 (12 innings)

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.

Attendance: 25,884

Nominee #4

June 6, 1987

Padres 5, Braves 3

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.

Attendance: 20,557

Nominee #5

July 11, 1987

Padres 3, Pirates 1

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.

Attendance: 27,476

Nominee #6

August 8, 1987 (full disclosure: the odds of this being the game are virtually zero as this is my sisters birthday)

Padres 4, Astros 3 (10 innings)

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.

[polldaddy poll=7255736]


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  • I think you have to eliminate the extra innings games. Parents (generally) aren’t inclined to keep a kid at the ball park past 9 innings – it’s just too tough. I chose the June 14th game. Which pretty makes you the reason the Padres are cursed and can’t get the cycle. Wear it, my friend.

  • SDPads1

    I voted for the one you had virtually no shot at being at because that makes the story even better.

    “Gather round kids. I’d like to tell you a story about my first game I ever attended….

  • I find your choices of only Padres wins both admirable and disturbing. Either you were the luckiest kid on earth, or you were a witch.

    • Geoff Hancock


  • Lonnie Brownell

    I went for the earliest game, to provide the longest ramp up to the eventual Honorary Bat Boy designation. Sorry that your folks (et al.) can’t provide any additional data that might help narrow it down…but I know how that goes:

    This is similar to an exercise I went through recently, trying to figure out exactly what the first baseball game I went to was. It was a Dodger game, back when I was a little kid in OC, the Angels were very new, and the Padres were still a PCL team.

    I have these facts, or near-facts: (1) It was with my friend Kevin Steiner, who’s dad, Mel, was an NL ump and was working the game that night. (2) I met and shook hands with The Largest Man I’d Ever Seen, Frank Howard, in the elevator, so it had to be between ’62 (it was at Dodger Stadium, not the Colosseum) and ’64. (3) It had to be during school months, as Kevin and I didn’t hang in the summer. (4) I *think* it was vs. the Phillies. (5) I have a distinct (but possibly faulty) memory of Kevin’s dad turning around after the last out and coming to get us from home plate, where he was working, to where we were sitting, right behind home (there was a door or gate right behind the plate in those days).

    No games match up exactly. Mel wasn’t working home any of the games against the Phillies during those years, but he did work a number of them. So…I dunno. Still a mystery.

    Oh, the other distinct memory I have of that day was sitting in the umpire’s locker room, with me and Kevin struggling to keep from giggling at four very large men sitting in their underwear, rubbing baseballs with that special mud (which the grounds crew does now, but back then, it was the ump’s job). However, that doesn’t help narrow the date down, either.

  • DaveRiceSD

    Interesting conundrum…I’ve also got no clue when my first game was, though I know we moved “back” to San Diego (my dad was a native, my mom grew up here, but I was born in Orange) in 1984 and lived for a time in a foreclosed house formerly owned by Kurt Bevacqua – dad got paid to be a caretaker of high-end bank repo houses before they re-sold, apparently it would have been a pretty kush pad were I old enough to remember it, though I have an Adidas leather duffell bag labeled as 1981 All-Star Game players’ schwag that was allegedly pilfered from that house, despite questions about how Bevacqua would have acquired such an item.

    There’s a picture of me (shirtless) in the Murph stands framed at my dad’s house sitting next to him (also shirtless, clutching a beer and sporting an impish grin) and I can’t be more than 3 years old (this would be 1985-ish), though I have no clue if this was my first game or if he could even remember when my first game might have been – but it makes me curious to ask the next time I see him…

    For LeftCoastBias’ first game, I’m joining AvengingJM and piling on in blaming him for being the reason we still have no SD cycle…