In 1998, Greg Vaughn became the only Padres player to hit 50 home runs in a season. Six years earlier, Fred McGriff became the only one to lead the National League in homers, with 35.
The last Padres player to lead a league in home runs before McGriff? That would be Deron Johnson, who knocked 33 dingers in 1963 to pace the PCL. It was a great season for the Poway native and graduate of San Diego High School, which later produced Graig Nettles and Jacque Jones.
It was also Johnson’s only season playing for his hometown team. The next year, he hit 21 homers for the Cincinnati Reds. A year later, he led the NL with 130 RBI. He won a World Championship with the A’s in 1973 and finished his career with 245 homers. Johnson, who remained in baseball as a coach after his playing days were over, died far too soon, succumbing to lung cancer in 1992 at age 53.
Before Johnson, you have to go back to 1949, when PCL Hall of Famer Max West launched 48 bombs. West also led the PCL in 1947. And when he graduated to the NL’s Pittsburgh Pirates a year later, fellow lefty slugger Jack Graham filled the void, leading the PCL with 48 in ’48 and being named the circuit’s MVP. He would’ve hit even more if not for a horrific beaning (they didn’t wear helmets) that cost him 46 games.
Except when it doesn’t.
So, Huston Street and Tyson Ross are your San Diego Padres 2014 All-Stars, although Ross will not play having started on Sunday. Street was named to replace Ross on the active All-Star roster.
The Padres wanted us to write-in Seth Smith on our All-Star ballots this year. Because his name wasn’t on the ballot and everyone else sucked.
Last week, I explored possible replacements for Ross on the All-Star roster this year. Seeing as how Smith was
denied not chosen, that got me thinking: When was the last time a position player from the Padres started an All-Star game?
The last time a position player actually started the All-Star Game was 1998 at Coors Field in Denver, when Tony Gwynn was voted in by the fans. Andy Ashby, Kevin Brown, Trevor Hoffman, and Greg Vaughn joined Gwynn as All-Star reserves.
1998? That long ago? Have the Padres really sucked that bad? Well, yes and no. Part of the problem with having the fans vote is players that get national attention tend to get the most votes. And the Padres have rarely gotten national attention since 1998. Not for anything positive, that is.
Not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, just that’s the way it is.
So, what happened between 1998 and today? How many players have been All-Stars since?
For those of you who weren’t paying attention — which based on the number of entries I received wasn’t as much as I expected — Padres Public managed to get a few copies of MLB Bloopers Deluxe Doubleheader and Prime 9: MLB Heroics DVDs from MLB Productions. So, I decided to have a online scavenger hunt through all of my posts in a series of 19 questions.
(If you find yourself asking “Why 19?” you should stop reading this blog and Google “San Diego Padres #19” right now.)
The winner is Nate, aka @Taterz1021 on Twitter, who correctly answered 18 out of the 19 questions I asked.
Let’s take a look at the questions, followed by the answer I was looking for and the post that it was contained in.
You may have noticed that Padres and Pints now has it’s own section located on the right (A big thank you to Melvin for setting that up for us!).
There’s a reason for this, as we currently have quite a few things in the works. Now that all of the past videos have been completed and posted, we are ready to book more new guests. And, as a matter of fact, we have indeed done just that….twice in the next two weeks.
To hold you over for the time being and to hopefully lighten the mood in Padre-land, we decided to cut a quick promo. Because “Hey! It’s baseball!”
The Padres will finish up their series with the Giants this weekend and then, mercifully, head into the All-Star Break. With any luck they will enter that All-Star Break with a decent taste in their mouth assuming the series against the free-falling Giants goes well. But in either event the Padres could use a break after recently losing 10-games in a row.
However, I’m not here today to dwell on the recent struggles. Today we look back, with the All-Star Game as our guide, and attempt to assemble the Padres All-Time, All-Stars, All-Star Team. Wow, that was a mouthful.
The basic premise is this. Throughout the Padres history they have had at least one player from every position make the All-Star Game. Based on a variety of requirements, some of which are objective some subjective, I’ve assembled what I think is that team.
Ok, the requirements. On the objective side I’m looking at the players overall season that they made the All-Star team. I’m using the entire season though obviously half of those numbers happened after the All-Star Game. In the event of ties (or close calls) I’ll use how that player may have done in the All-Star Game that year. And in one case, I simply picked a player I like more than another, objectivity be damned. So, without further ado, let’s assemble an All-Star team!
Last Friday, Padres Public members Bryant from Woe, Doctor!, Melvin from the Sacrifice Bunt, Mike from Padres Trail and myself attended the Padres 1998 reunion down at Petco Park. While there, we got the awesome opportunity to interview the Team MVP from that year Greg Vaughn. Vaughn had a huge year for that ’98 team and was an All-Star, Silver Slugger winner and even finished 4th in the NL MVP voting. It’s a short interview, but it was awesome talking to him. He definitely looks like he could still crush some balls out of the ballpark. Enjoy!
Tonight, the San Diego Padres will play host to the NL West division leading Arizona Diamondbacks with the chance to make seriously progress in making up their 5 game deficit. The Padres will also be honoring the 1998 National League Championship team. Players from that 1998 team will be present at the game signing autographs and NLCS MVP Sterling Hitchcock will throw out the first pitch. The Padres will be wearing the now retro 1998 uniforms and I imagine quite a few highlights will be shown between innings. So, for today’s post I thought we’d reminisce a bit about the 1998 club in preparation for tonight’s festivities.
First things first. 1998 is considered retro now? I’m not sure I’m ready to live in a world where that’s true but the facts are tough to disputed. Somehow it’s been 15 years since that 1998 season though for some reason I still consider the early ’90s to be 10 years ago. 1998 saw “Shakespeare in Love” somehow beat out “Saving Private Ryan” for Best Picture, saw “My Heart Will Go On” and “The Boy Is Mine” rule the airwaves and “Seinfeld” and “ER” be the highest rated television shows on the air.
In no particular order, here is a stupid list:
- Edinson Volquez wears uniform number 37.
- He wore numbers 40, 38, and 31 with the Rangers, and number 36 with the Reds.
- His hero is Pedro Martinez, who wore number 37 with the Expos in 1994 and 1995.
- Volquez was once traded, with Danny Herrera, for Josh Hamilton.
- According to Baseball-Reference, his most similar pitcher is Roger Pavlik.
- Volquez led the National League with 105 walks in 2012.
- He led the NL with 14 HBP in 2008.
- The first batter Volquez hit in the big leagues was the fifth man he faced, Aaron Rowand.
- The next batter, Jermaine Dye, hit the first homer Volquez allowed. Read More…
Jonah Keri, author of The Extra 2%, wrote a piece on Grantland.com titled The New Springfield Nine. In it, Keri recasts, as it were, the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team from the classic third season Simpsons episode, “Homer At The Bat.”
If you don’t recall what that episode was about, here’s the summary from IMDB:
Homer and his co-workers qualify the plant’s softball team for the league final, but Mr. Burns hires 9 professional MLB players to win a $1 million bet.
The nine MLB players Mr. Burns gets were Roger Clemens, Mike Scioscia, Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, Wade Boggs, Jose Canseco, Ken Griffey Jr. and Darryl Strawberry, all of whom guest-starred as themselves.
This is where we gather from time to time to talk about something big in the Padres world or just the Padres or just baseball. It’s a roundtable discussion. Except, you know, no round tables. This is a Public House…so we’re at the bar.
*All opinions are of those who are attributed to them. No opinion here should be construed to be that of the collective.
Padres Trail wrote an excellent post a couple of weeks ago regarding the most seminal Padres moment. His choice, a fine one, was Game 3 of the 1996 NLDS. If you haven’t read his post already, go check it out here.
This topic got a lot of us thinking “what are our seminal Padres moments?” It’s a somewhat complicated topic for a team with 0 World Series titles and only 2 appearances. But seminal doesn’t necessarily mean “great.” They are moments, for better or worse, that stay with you. An easy way to test what moments these would be for you? They are the first moments that come to mind when you think “Padres.”
Here, we’ve limited ourselves to picking 3 moments in total. Some good, some bad, all memorable.
So, presented for this week’s roundtable discussion, The Bar presents “Seminal Padres Moments.”