Welcome to my 7th Annual “Padres Hate History” post. I say it every year and yet it constantly falls on deaf ears for one reason or another. Fingers crossed this is the last one?
Why do I say this? Because it’s true. Consistently year in and year out this team completely ignores its past for some reason. Granted they don’t have as rich of a history as teams like the Yankees, Red Sox or Cardinals, however they do have A HISTORY and that’s important when it comes to any team. As a fan you should know about Nate Colberts amazing day in 1972 where he hit 5 home runs with 13 RBI’s in a double header. You should know about the infamous Padres and Braves brawl of 1984 (and shirtless Ed Whitson). You should know about Eric Owens stealing home in 1999. These are fun factoids!
I also say every year, that I’ve been to a lot of ballparks and I’m consistently amazed at how well done those teams honor their history. When you walk around AT&T Park in San Francisco you’ll see that players such as Marvin Benard and Jason Schmidt are honored on their Wall of Fame. YES! A team with as rich of a history as the Giants actually honor players that may not be Hall of Fame players, but they were important to their organization. Craziness, right?
Not proof enough for you? OK, I’ve laid out some evidence down below. Read on!
Here’s the link to the Padres website. Click on it and find the History section in under 5 minutes. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Oh good, you’re back. Did you find it? It was kind of tricky right? Spoiler Alert: it’s with the NEWS section under RELATED LINKS. Sure, that makes perfect sense, right? Now if you frequent the Padres site often, you may have passed the test with flying colors. Although as someone who frequents the site often, even I sometimes forget where to find it. But I now give you….
Now that you found it, just start clicking around the history page.
“Awesome! I love history I can’t wait! They have a page with all the Team Award winners! That’s something that you really can’t find anywhere, like Baseball Reference. I can’t wait to click on that….oh…..my….god….”
It appears to be a link to a Corey Brock article from 2011 talking about the MLB.com Padres awards? Awards that I had no clue even existed and definitely don’t exist anymore. Then you scroll down and see a badly formatted table that lists the past actual Team Award winners…..up until 2008? That’s embarrassing. There are no signs of the MiLB Team Awards either. Ugh.
The rest of the history page is a mish-mosh of things, some well done and others not so well done. Dick Williams (and Greg Maddux but they get a pass on him) is completely MIA on the Hall of Fame page.
Another note: Having (accidentally) stumbled upon the history page years ago, I can confirm that it hasn’t ever been redesigned. In fact they even have the old “Home Plate Wave” logo displayed on the page still. Yikes.
The Padres created their Hall of Fame in 1999. That year they inducted Nate Colbert, Randy Jones and Ray Kroc. All three were extremely well deserved. In 2000 the Padres inducted Dave Winfield. Another well deserved honoree and just in time for him to make his decision on what hat to wear on his National Baseball Hall of Fame plaque *cough cough*. In 2001 Buzzie Bavasi and Jerry Coleman were inducted. Once again, both are fantastic choices. In 2002 they wasted no time in honoring Tony Gwynn, a season after his retirement. This is kind of no brainer, right? Then there was radio silence. Had they forgotten about their Hall of Fame?
Finally, after 6 seasons of not a single peep about the Padres Hall of Fame, Dick Williams was inducted in 2009. All was right in the world once again. However 4 seasons later there hasn’t been a single member inducted.
When it comes to the honor hierarchy: Padres Hall of Fame is the bottom of the barrel, Retired Number is the next step up and then statues are reserved for the extra special. There are numerous ex-Padres that are Padres Hall of Fame worthy. Steve Garvey is worthy, however he somehow skipped that level and jumped right to the Retired Number. Another worthy player to skip the first step is Trevor Hoffman. Broadcasters Ted Leitner and Bob Chandler are definitely worthy. It’s a travesty that the San Diego Chicken isn’t in yet. What about players such as Garry Templeton, Eric Show or Gene Richards? All of them had long careers with the Padres and all played an important part in their history.
When the question of where exactly the Padres Hall of Famers are honored was brought up on Twitter recently, many people, including Mr. Padre (Blogger) himself Geoff Young, had no clue where to find anything. Well I’ll tell you where. There are some lockers in the Padres Hall of Fame Bar and Grill displaying some items from each members career. However, I can’t recall if Dick Williams ever got a locker. Thrilling, right?
On the topic of Hall of Fame, some may know that there are plaques that sit in front of the batters eye out in center field. Those people also know that they are consistently blocked off and covered so the world can’t enjoy their true beauty. Those are actually plaques for every player to wear a Padres uniform who is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame up to 2005. So there is no Roberto Alomar, Rickey Henderson, Goose Gossage, Dick Williams or even Tony Gwynn and Jerry Coleman to be found. Move those plaques somewhere and get up to date on the players already. It’s completely ridiculous.
The promotional schedules. Other teams do a fantastic job of balancing the past with the present when it comes to their giveaway items. Are you in Cleveland? Grab yourself a Kenny Lofton bobblehead one day and then a Michael Bourn shirsey the next. Kids love bobbleheads and the parents will have a grand time telling them about Lofton’s quick feet and slick glove leading them to the World Series in 1995, while they are wearing the shirsey promoting the current member Bourn out to dinner. I can’t recall when the last Padres item was given away, that featured a player from the past. 2003 with the Winfield, Jones & Chicken bobbleheads? Maybe. There’s only so much Clayton Richard giveaways that one can take. Mix it up a bit.
I’ll end it here, because sadly I can keep going all day. This is a huge problem and is essentially part of the reason why there are so few Padres fans. Yeah it would help if the team did well on the field, but there are many other facets that draw in the fans and the history is one of them and the Padres do a terrible job in this department.
To try and pick up the Padres slack a bit, I have created a History page that you can find at the top of the site. I have had one of these at every single incarnation of RJ’s Fro, so I thought it would be fitting to continue that tradition here at Padres Public. I will make additions to it whenever I get the chance, but for now the complete Padres Team Awards, Retired Numbers and Padres Hall of Fame members have been added. Enjoy!