Friday night the Ted Williams (San Diego) Chapter of SABR hosted the Padres Memorable Moments event at the Scripps Ranch Library. As you may remember from reading about it here and here, Bob Chandler was to call the memorable moments in the old-style of sound effects and ticker tape.
In the library auditorium a stage was set up. On the left was a desk with all the special effects Chandler would use – a pillow, bat, and wood block, an a microphone to broadcast the action. To the right, three sofa chairs were set up, where Chandler conducted interviews with participants in each event chronicled. Before the game started, Joe Rathburn warmed the crowd up with a medley of baseball songs, culminating with Centerfield (which happens to be a personal favorite).
Then the National Anthem was sung, and we were off.
Bob reprised nine events in Padres history (pictures and video):
- The first Padres home game, 8 April 1969
- Randy Jones 1o-inning one-hitter, 19 May 1975
- Tony Gwynn‘s NLCS game-winning hit, 7 October 1984, and edging Will Clark for his fourth batting title, 1 October 1989
- Steve Arlin‘s near no-hitter, 18 July 1972
- Clay Kirby‘s 8-no hit innings, 21 July 1970
- Ozzie Smith‘s barehanded stop, 20 April 1978
- Nate Colbert‘s 5 HR doubleheader, 1 August 1972
- Steve Garvey‘s NLCS HR, 6 October 1984 and Kurt Bevacqua‘s WS HR, 10 October 1984
- Hell’s Bells and signing Trevor Hoffman.
Of the folks we thought were coming, only Chris Cannizzaro (the first Padres All-Star) was unable to make it. However, that disappointment was short-lived. Some photos (and all photos were taken by @Padres360, who had a much better seat than I did):
Roger Craig ended up being interviewed on three separate occasions. He was the Padres pitching coach in 1969 and 1970 and the club’s manager in 1978. So Roger discussed the Padres home opener, Preston Gomez‘s decision to pinch-hit for Clay Kirby while Kirby was throwing a that no-hitter, and Ozzie’s most famous defensive play.
Steve Arlin came closer to throwing a no-hitter than any Padres pitcher in their history. He was one-out away when Denny Doyle broke it up with a single. Arlin jokingly stated the lack of a no-no should be called the ‘Curse of Don Zimmer‘. I can’t remember why.
Bob Skinner was the Padres hitting coach from 1970-73 and again from 1977-78. He had a front-row seat for Nate Colbert‘s huge day, and talked about what a great athlete Colbert was until a back injury slowed him down.
Seeing these old-time ballplayers was great, and hearing their stories about both the game of baseball in general and the particular games highlighted was a true treat. The highlights of the evening, however, were the appearances of four men familiar to any Padres fan. Randy Jones talked about his one-hitter, first extra-base hit, and throwing a game that lasted 1 hour and 29 minutes total, or roughly the time it takes to get through the fourth inning nowadays.
Kurt Bevacqua made his way to the stage. Kurt has a tremendous stage presence and a great sense of humor. He explained a few things (and curse me for not recording this):
- He hurt his hamstring rounding second in the seventh inning of Game 1, 1984 World Series.
- Kirk Gibson (Tigers RF) never EVER hit the cut-off man, something the Padres intended to exploit. Except on the play where Bevacqua got thrown out at third, he did.
- Lou Whitaker later told Bevacqua he only threw the ball to third on that play because of the crowd reaction to Kurt falling down. He thought Kurt had third easy on the ball in the corner.
- His huge World Series (2 HR) was ultimately motivated by that play at third. He played angry.
- After he flew out to end the fifth inning of NLCS Game 5, he felt Rick Sutcliffe was losing a little bit off his fastball. The rest of the Padres agreed and took full advantage over the next two innings.
- He talked about his famous HR trot in Game 2.
No Padres memorable moments would be complete without Tony Gwynn and Jerry Coleman. This night was no exception. Both men were on-hand to talk about the 1984 NL Pennant, and Tony overtaking Will Clark for the NL batting title on the last day of the season in 1989. The audience did not know Coleman would be there until he arrived for the start of of the evening, and no one knew Gwynn was on-hand until he came on stage for this portion of the evening. As you can see from the video below (and I apologize for the somewhat poor sound quality), there was a lot of excitement when he appeared.
The last game profiled wasn’t actually a game; but rather, the signing of Trevor Hoffman. After a ‘The Last Out’ sign went up near the front of the stage, Hell’s Bells started playing in the auditorium. Everyone got excited; we didn’t know Gwynn was coming, could Trevor be here too? Alas, he wasn’t; it was announced he was out of town. Former Padres President Dick Freeman, who was with the organization when they traded for Trevor, talked about the signing and why they thought Hoffman would be an impact player for the Padres. Which he certainly was.
There was also a silent auction, and some items may or may not have found their way into my possession; but that’s a post for a later date.
All in all it was a fantastic night.
I’ve been posting sporadically about the Padres since 2009, and accumulating baseball memorabilia for much, much longer. Thanks to all of you brave enough to follow me on Twitter.